Efficacy of Porcine Secretin in Children with Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorder

  • Janet K. KernEmail author
  • Van S. Miller
  • Patricia A. Evans
  • Madhukar H. Trivedi


Secretin, a gastrointestinal (GI) hormone, was reported in a preliminary study to improve language and behavior in children with autism/pervasive developmental disorder (PDD) and chronic diarrhea. To determine the efficacy of secretin, we completed a double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover (3 weeks) study in children with autism/PDD and various GI conditions using a single dose of intravenous porcine secretin. Children with chronic, active diarrhea showed a reduction in aberrant behaviors when treated with the secretin but not when treated with the placebo. Children with no GI problems are unaffected by either secretin or placebo. The improvement seen with secretin in children with autism/PDD and chronic diarrhea suggests that there may be a subtype of children with autism/PDD who respond to secretin.

Autism PDD secretin efficacy gastrointestinal 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Aman, M., & Singh, N. (1986). Aberrant Behavior Checklist. New York: Slosson Educational Publications, Inc.Google Scholar
  2. American Psychiatric Association. (1994). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (4th ed.), Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Association.Google Scholar
  3. Bryson, S. E., Clark, B. S., & Smith, I. M. (1988). First report of a Canadian epidemiological study of autistic syndromes. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 29, 433–446.Google Scholar
  4. Chez, M. G., Buchanan, C. P., Bagan, B. T., Hammer, M. S., Mc-Carthy, K. S., Ovrutskaya, I., Nowinski, C. V., & Cohen, Z. S. (2000). Secretin and autism: A two part clinical investigation. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 30, 87–94.Google Scholar
  5. Cohen, D., & Volkmar, F. (1997). Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorders (2nd ed.), New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.Google Scholar
  6. D'Eufemia, P., Celli, M., Finocchiaro, R., Pacifico, L., Viozzi, L., Zaccagnini, M., Cardi, E., & Giardini, O. (1996). Abnormal intestinal permeability in children with autism. Acta Paediatrica, 85, 1076–1079.Google Scholar
  7. Fenson, L., Dale, P. S., Reznick, J. S., Thal, D., Bates, E., Hartung, J. P., Pethick, S., & Reilly, J. (1996). MacArthur Communicative Development Inventories. London: Singular Publishing Group, Inc.Google Scholar
  8. Furlano, R. I., Anthony, A., Day, R., Brown, A., McGarvey, L., Thomson, M. A., Davies, S. E., Berelowitz, M., Forbes, A., Wakefield, A. J., Walker-Smith, J. A., & Murch, S. H. (2001). Colonic CD8 and γδ T-cell infiltration with epithelial damage in children with autism. Journal of Pediatrics, 138, 366–372.Google Scholar
  9. Geissler, A., Andus, T., Roth, M., Kullman, F., Caeser, I., Held, P., Gross, V., Feuerbach, S., & Scholmerich, J. (1995). Focal white-matter lesions in the brain of patients with inflammatory bowel disease. Lancet, 345, 897–898.Google Scholar
  10. Hart, P. E., Gould, S. R., MacSweeney, J. E., Clifton, A., & Schon, F. (1998). Brain white-matter lesions in inflammatory bowel disease. Lancet, 351, 1558.Google Scholar
  11. Hadjivassiliou, M., Gibson, A., Davies-Jones, G. A., Lobo, A. J., Stephenson, T. J., & Milford-Ward, A. (1996). Does cryptic gluten sensitivity play a role in neurological illness? Lancet, 347, 369–371.Google Scholar
  12. Horvath, K., Papadimitriou, J. C., Rabsztyn, A., Drachenberg, C., & Tildon, J. T. (1999). Gastrointestinal abnormalities in children with autistic disorder. Journal of Pediatrics, 135, 559–563.Google Scholar
  13. Horvath, K., Stefanatos, G., Sokolski, K. N., Wachtel, R., Nabors, L., & Tildon, J. (1998). Improved social and language skills after secretin administration in patients with autistic spectrum disorders. Journal of the Association for Academic Minority Physicians, 9, 9–15.Google Scholar
  14. Kern, J. K., Miller, V. S., Cauller, L. J., Kendall, R., Mehta, J., & Dodd, M. (2001). The effectiveness of N,N-dimethylglycine in autism/PDD. Journal of Child Neurology, 16, 169–173.Google Scholar
  15. Knickelbein, R. G., & Dobbins, J. W. (1990). Sulfate and oxalate exchange for bicarbonate across the basolateral membrane. American Journal of Physiology, 259, G807–G813.Google Scholar
  16. Lossos, A., River, Y., Eliakim, A., & Steiner, I. (1995). Neurological aspects of inflammatory bowel disease. Neurology, 45, 416–421.Google Scholar
  17. Mitznegg, P., Bloom, S. R., Domschke, W., Haecki, W. H., Domschke, S., Belohlavek, D., Wunsch, E., & Demling, L. (1977). Effect of secretin in plasma motilin in man. Gut, 18, 468–471.Google Scholar
  18. Murch, S. H., MacDonald, T. T., Walker-Smith, J. A., Levin, M., Lionetti, P., & Klein, N. J. (1993). Disruption of sulphated glucosaminoglycans in intestinal inflammation. Lancet, 341, 711–714.Google Scholar
  19. Owley, T., Steele, E., Corsello, C., Risi, S., McKaig, K., Lord, C., Leventhal, B. L., & Cook, E. H. (1999). A double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of secretin for the treatment of autistic disorder. Medscape General Medicine. Available at: Scholar
  20. Sandler, A. D., Sutton, K. A., DeWeese, J., & Girardi, M. A., Sheppard, V., & Bodfish, J. W. (1999). Lack of benefit of a single dose of synthetic human secretin in the treatment of autism and pervasive developmental disorder. New England Journal of Medicine, 341, 1801–1806.Google Scholar
  21. Sasaki, N., & Yoshihara, T. (1999). The effect of motilin on the regulation mechanism of intestinal motility in conscious horses. Journal of Veterinary Medical Science, 61, 167–170.Google Scholar
  22. Sugiyama, T., & Abe, T. (1989). The prevalence of autism in Nagoya, Japan: A total population study. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 19, 87–96.Google Scholar
  23. Vantrappen, G., & Geboes, K. (1993). Inflammatory bowel disease: Glycoaminoglycans and the gut. Lancet, 34, 730–731.Google Scholar
  24. Viador, F., Chapon, F., Dao, T., Rivrain, Y., & Lechevalier, B. (1995). Celiac disease in adults revealed by sensory-motor neuropathy. Presse Medicale, 24, 222–224.Google Scholar
  25. Wakefield, A. J., Murch, S. H., Anthony, A., Linnell, J., Casson, D. M., Malik, M., Berelowitz, M., Dhillon, A. P., Thompson, M. A., Harvey, P., Valentine, A., Davies, S. E., & Walker-Smith, J. A. (1998). Ileal-lymphoid-hyperplasia, non-specific colitis, and pervasive developmental disorder in children. Lancet, 351, 637–641.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Janet K. Kern
    • 1
    Email author
  • Van S. Miller
    • 2
  • Patricia A. Evans
    • 3
  • Madhukar H. Trivedi
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of Texas Southwestern Medical CenterDallas
  2. 2.Department of NeurologyUniversity of Texas Southwestern Medical CenterDallas
  3. 3.Children's Developmental CenterDallas

Personalised recommendations