Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 19, Issue 1, pp 137–141 | Cite as

Williams syndrome: Serotonin's association with developmental disabilities

  • Gerald J. August
  • George M. Realmuto


Reiss et al. (1985) described two autistic children with the Williams syndrome, a dysmorphic developmental syndrome of unknown cause. Both children also showed elevated blood serotonin levels. The present report describes two prepubescent females with the characteristic features of Williams syndrome, who are not autistic and who have blood serotonin levels within the normal range. These findings suggest that further study of developmental disorders that coexist with autism may help clarify the relationship between autism and putative biological markers such as hyperserotonemia.


Serotonin Characteristic Feature School Psychology Present Report Elevated Blood 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Aman, M. G., & Singh, N. N. (1984).Aberrant Behavior Checklist. East Aurora, NY: Slosson Educational.Google Scholar
  2. Bennett, F. C., LaVeck, B., & Sells, C. J. (1978). The Williams elfin facies syndrome: The psychological profile as an aid in syndrome identification.Journal of Pediatrics, 86, 303–305.Google Scholar
  3. Campbell, J., Friedman, E., DeVito, E., Greenspan, L., & Colins, P. J. (1974). Blood serotonin in psychotic and brain-damaged children.Journal of Autism and Childhood Schizophrenia, 4, 33–41.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Hanley, H. G., Stahl, S. M., & Freedman, D. X. (1977). Hyperserotonemia and amine metabolites in autistic and retarded children.Archives of General Psychiatry, 34, 521–531.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Jones, K. L., & Smith, D. W. (1975). The Williams elfin facies syndrome.Journal of Pediatrics, 86, 718–723.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Krug, D. A., Arick, J., & Almond, P. (1980). Behavior checklist for identifying severely handicapped individuals with high levels of autistic behavior.Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 21, 221–229.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Pare, C. M. B., Sandler, M., & Stacey, R. S. (1960). 5-Hydroxyindoles in mental deficiency.Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry, 23, 341–346.Google Scholar
  8. Partington, M. W., Tu, J. B., & Wong, C. Y. (1973). Blood serotonin levels in severe mental retardation.Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology, 15, 616–629.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Reiss, A. L., Feinstein, C., Rosenbaum, K. N., Borengasser-Caruso, M. A., & Goldsmith, B. M. (1985). Autism associated with Williams Syndrome.Journal of Pediatrics, 106, 247–249.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Ritvo, E. R., Yuwiler, A., Geller, E., Ornitz, E. M., Saeger, K., & Plotkin, S. (1970). Increased blood serotonin and platelets in early infantile autism.Archives of General Psychiatry, 23, 566–572.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Schain, R. J., & Freedman, D. X. (1961). Studies on 5-hydroxyindole metabolism in autistic and other mentally retarded children.Journal of Pediatrics, 58, 315–320.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Smith, D. W. (1970).Recognizable patterns of human malformation. Philadelphia: W. B. Saunders.Google Scholar
  13. Sparrow, S., Balla, D., & Cicchetti, D. V. (1984).Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales (Expanded Form). Circle Pines, MN: American Guidance Service.Google Scholar
  14. von Arnim G., & Engel, P. (1964). Mental retardation related to hypercalcemia.Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology, 6, 366–371.Google Scholar
  15. Young, J. G., Kavanagh, M. E., Anderson, G. M., Shaywitz, B. A., & Cohen, D. J. (1982). Clinical neurochemistry of autism and associated disorders.Journal of Autism and Developmental Disabilities, 12, 147–165.Google Scholar
  16. Yuwiler, A., Plotkin, S., Geller, E., & Ritvo, E. R. (1970). A rapid accurate procedure for the determination of serotonin in whole human blood.Biochemical Medicine, 3, 426–436.PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gerald J. August
    • 1
  • George M. Realmuto
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Child and Adolescent PsychiatryUniversity of Minnesota Department of PsychiatryMinneapolis

Personalised recommendations