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Pediatr Int. 2008 Aug;50(4):528-32. doi: 10.1111/j.1442-200X.2008.02621.x.

Porphyrinuria in childhood autistic disorder is not associated with urinary creatinine deficiency.

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Philippe Auguste Laboratory, Paris, France.



Urinary metabolite measurements are often normalized to levels of the ubiquitous metabolite creatinine (CRT) to take account of variations in fluid export. Following CRT normalization, excesses of porphyrins and isoprostanes have been reported in the urines of children with neurodevelopmental disorders. It was suggested (Whiteley et al., 2006, Pediatr. Int. 2006; 48: 292-297) that urinary CRT levels may be depressed in children with autism spectrum disorders. This prompted re-evaluation of CRT levels in such children.


First matinal urinary CRT levels were compared between subjects in different diagnostic categories including autistic disorder, pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) and hyperactivity, before and after correction for age and gender. A larger reference group, consisting of subjects with unrelated disorders and Asperger disorder, with no reported porphyrin excess, was also compared to the group with autistic disorder, both for CRT and for porphyrin (coproporphyrin, COPRO) excess.


No significant difference in CRT was observed between any of the categories analyzed, also when corrected for age and gender. In contrast, urinary COPRO levels were significantly higher in autistic disorder versus reference groups, either when expressed as absolute values (independent of CRT levels) or when normalized to CRT.


These data do not support a systematic reduction in urinary CRT levels in subjects with autism spectrum disorders including autistic disorder and PDD-NOS. Urinary COPRO excess in autistic disorder was not associated with or consequent upon urinary CRT deficiency. Differences between affected and control subjects in age and sampling time, as reported by Whiteley et al., may underlie the apparent CRT reduction.

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