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Biomarkers. 2009 May;14(3):171-80. doi: 10.1080/13547500902783747.

The plasma zinc/serum copper ratio as a biomarker in children with autism spectrum disorders.

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The Children's Institute, 1405 Shady Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15217, USA.


The frequency of zinc deficiency, copper toxicity and low zinc/copper in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) may indicate decrement in metallothionein system functioning. A retrospective review of plasma zinc, serum copper and zinc/copper was performed on data from 230 children with autistic disorder, pervasive developmental disorder-NOS and Asperger's syndrome. The entire cohort's mean zinc level was 77.2 microg dl(-1), mean copper level was 131.5 microg dl(-1), and mean Zn/Cu was 0.608, which was below the 0.7 cut-off of the lowest 2.5% of healthy children. The plasma zinc/serum copper ratio may be a biomarker of heavy metal, particularly mercury, toxicity in children with ASDs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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