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Biomark Insights. 2009 Nov 27;4:181-90.

Decreased Serum Hepatocyte Growth Factor (HGF) in Autistic Children with Severe Gastrointestinal Disease.

Author information

1
Research Director, Health Research Institute/Pfeiffer Treatment Center, 4575 Weaver Parkway, Warrenville, Illinois 60555, USA.

Abstract

AIM:

To assess serum Hepatocyte Growth Factor (HGF) levels in autistic children with severe gastrointestinal (GI) disease and to test the hypothesis that there is a relationship between GI pathology and HGF concentration.

SUBJECTS AND METHODS:

Serum from 29 autistic children with chronic digestive disease (symptoms for a minimum of 6-12 months), most with ileo-colonic lymphoid nodular hyperplasia (LNH-markedly enlarged lymphoid nodules) and inflammation of the colorectum, small bowel and/or stomach), and 31 controls (11 age matched autistic children with no GI disease, 11 age matched non autistic children without GI disease and 9 age matched non autistic children with GI disease) were tested for HGF using ELISAs. HGF concentration of autistic children with GI disease was compared to GI disease severity.

RESULTS:

Autistic children with GI disease had significantly lower serum levels of HGF compared to controls (autistic without GI disease; p = 0.0005, non autistic with no GI disease; p = 0.0001, and non autistic with GI disease; p = 0.001). Collectively, all autistic children had significantly lower HGF levels when compared to non autistic children (p < 0.0001). We did not find any relationship between severity of GI disease and HGF concentration in autistic children with GI disease.

DISCUSSION:

These results suggest an association between HGF serum levels and the presence of GI disease in autistic children and explain a potential functional connection between the Met gene and autism. The concentration of serum HGF may be a useful biomarker for autistic children, especially those with severe GI disease.

KEYWORDS:

GI disease; autism; hepatocyte growth factor; met gene

PMID:
20029653
PMCID:
PMC2796865

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