Objectives: To test whether the anterior pituitary hormones and cortisol were useful as biological markers for autism, we assessed the basal serum levels of them in serum from male, drug-naïve subjects with autism.
Methods: We determined the serum levels of six anterior pituitary hormones, including adrenocorticotropic hormone and growth hormone in 32 male subjects with autism (age: 6-18 years) and 34 healthy age- and sex-matched control subjects by a Bio-Plex suspension array system. Additionally, we also determined cortisol in these subjects by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.
Results: Serum levels of adrenocorticotropic hormone, growth hormone and cortisol were significantly higher in subjects with autism than in controls. Additionally, there was a significantly positive correlation between cortisol and adrenocorticotropic hormone levels in autism.
Conclusions: Our results suggest that increased basal serum levels of adrenocorticotropic hormone accompanied by increased cortisol and growth hormone might be implicated in the pathophysiology of autism.
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