Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 33, Issue 4, pp 443–448 | Cite as

Lower Cortisol and Higher ACTH Levels in Individuals with Autism

  • Jasna Marinović Ćurin
  • Janoš TerzićEmail author
  • Zorana Bujas Petković
  • Ljubinka Zekan
  • Ivana Marinović Terzić
  • Ivana Marasović Šušnjara


Blood concentrations of pituitary hormones adrenocorticotropin (ACTH), prolactin, growth hormone, and adrenal hormone–cortisol were measured in 36 autistic and 27 control individuals. Individuals with autism had significantly lower serum concentrations of cortisol (p < 10−6), and significantly higher concentrations of ACTH (p = 0.002) than control age- and sex-matched subjects. Also, prolactin concentrations in autistic patients with epilepsy were significantly higher when compared with normal subjects. The observed hormonal changes may indicate dysfunction of the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal axis in individuals with autism.

Autism cortisol ACTH 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jasna Marinović Ćurin
    • 1
  • Janoš Terzić
    • 2
    Email author
  • Zorana Bujas Petković
    • 3
  • Ljubinka Zekan
    • 4
  • Ivana Marinović Terzić
    • 2
  • Ivana Marasović Šušnjara
    • 1
  1. 1.School of MedicineUniversity of SplitSplitCroatia
  2. 2.Department of Physiology, School of MedicineUniversity of SplitSplitCroatia
  3. 3.Center for AutismZagrebCroatia
  4. 4.Department of Nuclear MedicineClinical Hospital, SplitSplitCroatia

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