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Psychiatry Investig. 2016 Mar;13(2):174-83. doi: 10.4306/pi.2016.13.2.174. Epub 2016 Mar 23.

Plasma Oxytocin in Children with Autism and Its Correlations with Behavioral Parameters in Children and Parents.

Author information

1
Institute of Physiology, Medical Faculty Comenius University, Bratislava, Slovakia.; Clinic of Psychiatry, Martin University Hospital and Jessenius Faculty of Medicine, Comenius University, Martin, Slovakia.
2
Institute of Physiology, Medical Faculty Comenius University, Bratislava, Slovakia.
3
Clinic of Psychiatry, Martin University Hospital and Jessenius Faculty of Medicine, Comenius University, Martin, Slovakia.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Oxytocin (OT) has been implicated to play an important role in autism spectrum disorders (ASD) etiology. We aimed to find out the differences in plasma OT levels between children with autism and healthy children, the associations of OT levels with particular autism symptoms and the associations of particular parental autistic traits with their ASD children OT levels.

METHODS:

We included 19 boys with autism and 44 healthy age-matched boys. OT levels were analyzed by ELISA method. Children with autism were scored by Childhood Autism Rating Scale and Autism Diagnostic Interview (ADI), adjusted research version. Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ), Systemizing Quotient (SQ) and Empathizing Quotient were completed by parents of children with autism.

RESULTS:

Children with autism had significantly lower plasma OT levels than controls. OT levels positively correlated with ADI Reciprocal Interaction and Communication scores. AQ and SQ of fathers positively correlated with children plasma OT level.

CONCLUSION:

Our results support the hypothesis of OT deficiency in autism. The "paradoxical" associations of OT levels and social skills in children with autism indicate disturbances at various levels of OT system. We first reported associations of OT levels in children with autism and behavioral measures in fathers indicating that OT abnormalities stay between parental autistic traits and autism symptoms in their children.

KEYWORDS:

Autism; Autism spectrum quotient; Oxytocin; Parents; Systemizing quotient

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