Background/Aims: The prevalence of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) is 1 in 300 children in the US. ASDs are characterized by impairments in social relatedness and communication, repetitive behaviors, abnormal movement patterns, and sensory dysfunction. Pre-pubertal age children with ASDs were assessed for metabolites in the methionine cycle-transsulfuration and androgen pathways, and for present physical development/behaviors indicative of hyperandrogenicity. Methods: The Institutional Review Board of the Institute for Chronic Illnesses (Office for Human Research Protections, US Department of Health and Human Services IRB number: IRB00005375) approved the present study. Sixteen consecutive pre-pubertal age children (≤11 years old; mean ± SD: 5.9 ± 2.1 years old) with previously diagnosed ASDs that presented to the Genetic Centers of America for outpatient care were evaluated. Results: Significantly (p < 0.01) increased levels of serum/plasma dehydroepiandrosterone and serum total testosterone relative to the age- and sex-specific normal laboratory reference ranges were observed. Conversely, serum follicle-stimulating hormone levels were significantly (p < 0.01) decreased. Plasma-reduced glutathione (p < 0.01), plasma cysteine (p < 0.01), plasma methionine (p < 0.01), serum cystathionine (p < 0.05), and serum homocysteine (p < 0.01) were all significantly decreased. Conclusion: The results suggest a possible cyclical interaction between the methionine cycle-transsulfuration and androgen pathways in some children with ASDs.

Bertrand J, Mars A, Boyle C, Bove F, Yeargin-Allsopp M, Decoufle P: Prevalence of autism in a United States population: the Brick Township, New Jersey, investigation. Pediatrics 2001;108:1155–1161.
Eigsti IM, Shapiro T: A systems neuroscience approach to autism: biological, cognitive, and clinical perspectives. Ment Retard Dev Disabil Res Rev 2003;9:205–215.
White JF: Intestinal pathology in autism. Exp Biol Med (Maywood) 2003;228:639–649.
Sweeten TL, Bowyer SL, Posey DJ, Halberstadt GM, McDougle CJ: Increased prevalence of familial autoimmunity in probands with pervasive developmental disorders. Pediatrics 2003;112:E420–E424.
Bolte S, Poustka F: The relation between general cognitive level and adaptive behavior domains in individuals with autism with and without comorbid mental retardation. Child Psychiatry Hum Dev 2002;33:165–172.
Geier MR, Geier DA: The potential importance of steroids in the treatment of autistic spectrum disorders and other disorders involving mercury toxicity. Med Hypotheses 2005;64:946–954.
Werner E, Dawson G: Validation of the phenomenon of autistic regression using home videotapes. Arch Gen Psychiatry 2005;62:889–895.
James SJ, Culter P, Melnyk S, Jernigan S, Janak L, Gaylor DW, Neubrander JA: Metabolic biomarkers of increased oxidative stress and impaired methylation capacity in children with autism. Am J Clin Nutr 2004;80:1611–1617.
Ryan RA, Carrol J: Studies on a 3-beta-hydroxysteroid sulphotransferase from rat liver. Biochim Biophys Acta 1976;429:391–401.
Strous RD, Golubchik P, Maayan R, Mozes T, Tuati-Werner D, Weizman A, Spivak B: Lowered DHEA-S plasma levels in adult individuals with autistic disorder. Eur Neuropsychopharmacol 2005;15:305–309.
Tordjman S, Ferrari P, Sulmont V, Duyme M, Roubertoux P: Androgenic activity in autism. Am J Psychiatry 1997;154:1626–1627.
Baron-Cohen S, Knickmeyer RC, Belmonte MK: Sex differences in the brain: implications for explaining autism. Science 2005;310:819–823.
Siddiqi SU, Van Dyke DC, Donohoue P, McBrien DM: Premature sexual development in individuals with neurodevelopmental disabilities. Dev Med Child Neurol 1999;41:392–395.
Giltay EJ, Hoogeveen EK, Elbers JM, Gooren LJ, Asscheman H, Stehouwer CD: Effects of sex steroids on plasma total homocysteine levels: a study in transsexual males and females. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 1998;83:550–553.
Giltay EJ, Verhoef P, Gooren LJ, Geleijnse JM, Schouten EG, Stehouwer CD: Oral and transdermal estrogens both lower plasma total homocysteine in male-to-female transsexuals. Atherosclerosis 2003;168:139–146.
Vrbikova J, Tallova J, Bicikova M, Dvorakova K, Hill M, Starka L: Plasma thiols and androgen levels in polycystic ovary syndrome. Clin Chem Lab Med 2003;41:216–221.
Boris M, Goldblatt A, Galanko J, James SJ: Association of 5,10-Methylenetetrathydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) gene polymorphisms with autistic spectrum disorders. J Am Phys Surg 2004;9:106–108.
Pasca SP, Nemes B, Vlase L, Gagvi CE, Dronca E, Miu AC, Dronca M: High levels of homocysteine and low serum paraoxonase 1 arylesterase activity in children with autism. Life Sci 2006;78:2244–2248.
Copyright / Drug Dosage / Disclaimer
Copyright: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be translated into other languages, reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, microcopying, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in government regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug.
Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor(s). The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.
You do not currently have access to this content.