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J Autism Dev Disord. 2011 Feb;41(2):237-41. doi: 10.1007/s10803-010-1046-3.

Increased serum levels of epidermal growth factor in children with autism.

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Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Department, Gazi University Medical Faculty, Ankara, Turkey.


The etiology of autism is unclear, however autism is considered as a multifactorial disorder that is influenced by neurological, environmental, immunological and genetic factors. Growth factors, including epidermal growth factor (EGF), play an important role in the cellular proliferation and the differentiation of the central and peripheral nervous system. In this study we hypothesized that EGF may play a role in the pathophysiology of autism and examined serum EGF levels in children with autism. We measured serum levels of EGF in the 27 autistic children and 28 age- matched normal controls. The serum levels of EGF in the subjects with autism were significantly higher than those of normal control subjects. However, there were no correlations between serum EGF levels and clinical variables in the subjects with autism. This is the first report demonstrating the increased serum levels of EGF in children with autism. This study suggests that increased levels of EGF might have an importance in the pathophysiology of autism.

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