Background: Hyperserotonemia has been reported in about a third of autistic patients. However, most studies have examined whole blood levels of serotonin (5-HT), the vast majority of which is found in platelets. The aim of this study was to determine 5-HT levels in platelet-poor plasma (PPP) in a group of adult patients with autism. Methods: Levels of PPP 5-HT were compared between 10 adult drug-free autistic patients and 12 healthy controls. The Ritvo-Freeman Real-Life Rating Scale and the Overt Aggression Scale (OAS) were administered to the autistic group as a measure of symptom severity. Results: Significantly lower PPP 5-HT levels were observed in the autistic group as compared to the controls (p = 0.03). In addition, PPP 5-HT levels were inversely correlated with OAS scores among subjects with autism (r = –0.64, p < 0.05). Conclusion: PPP 5-HT (‘free’) levels appear to be low in autistic patients and may play a role in the pathophysiology and symptomatology of the disorder.

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