Brief Communication

Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 38, Issue 1, pp 169-175

Brief Report: Plasma Leptin Levels are Elevated in Autism: Association with Early Onset Phenotype?

  • Paul AshwoodAffiliated withDepartment of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, University of California at DavisThe M.I.N.D. Institute, University of California at DavisNIEHS Center for Children’s Environmental Health, University of California at Davis
  • , Christina KwongAffiliated withDepartment of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, University of California at DavisDivision of Rheumatology, Allergy and Clinical Immunology, University of California at DavisSchool of Medicine, Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science
  • , Robin HansenAffiliated withThe M.I.N.D. Institute, University of California at DavisNIEHS Center for Children’s Environmental Health, University of California at DavisDepartment of Pediatrics, University of California at Davis
  • , Irva Hertz-PicciottoAffiliated withThe M.I.N.D. Institute, University of California at DavisNIEHS Center for Children’s Environmental Health, University of California at DavisDepartment of Public Health Sciences, Division of Epidemiology, University of California at Davis
  • , Lisa CroenAffiliated withNIEHS Center for Children’s Environmental Health, University of California at DavisDepartment of Research, Kaiser Permanente Northern California
  • , Paula KrakowiakAffiliated withThe M.I.N.D. Institute, University of California at DavisNIEHS Center for Children’s Environmental Health, University of California at DavisDepartment of Public Health Sciences, Division of Epidemiology, University of California at Davis
  • , Wynn WalkerAffiliated withDepartment of Neurology, University of California at Davis
  • , Isaac N. PessahAffiliated withThe M.I.N.D. Institute, University of California at DavisNIEHS Center for Children’s Environmental Health, University of California at DavisDepartment of Veterinary Molecular Biosciences, University of California at Davis
  • , Judy Van de WaterAffiliated withThe M.I.N.D. Institute, University of California at DavisNIEHS Center for Children’s Environmental Health, University of California at DavisDivision of Rheumatology, Allergy and Clinical Immunology, University of California at Davis Email author 

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Abstract

There is evidence of both immune dysregulation and autoimmune phenomena in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). We examined the hormone/cytokine leptin in 70 children diagnosed with autism (including 37 with regression) compared with 99 age-matched controls including 50 typically developing (TD) controls, 26 siblings without autism, and 23 children with developmental disabilities (DD). Children with autism had significantly higher plasma leptin levels compared with TD controls (p < .006). When further sub-classified into regression or early onset autism, children with early onset autism had significantly higher plasma leptin levels compared with children with regressive autism (< .042), TD controls (< .0015), and DD controls (p < .004). We demonstrated an increase in leptin levels in autism, a finding driven by the early onset group.

Keywords

Inflammation Leptin Autism Regression