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J Autism Dev Disord. 2003 Aug;33(4):443-8.

Lower cortisol and higher ACTH levels in individuals with autism.

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School of Medicine, University of Split, Split, Croatia.


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.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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