Plasma Serotonin in Autism

Susan L. Connors, Karla J. Matteson, Gary A. Sega, Carmen B. Lozzio, Roger C. Carroll, Andrew W. Zimmerman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Serotonin is necessary for normal fetal brain development. Administration of serotonin inhibitors to pregnant rats results in offspring with abnormal behaviors, brain morphology, and serotonin receptor numbers. Low maternal plasma serotonin may contribute to abnormal brain development in autism. In this study, plasma serotonin levels in autism mothers and control mothers of typically developing children were compared, and plasma serotonin levels in children with autism (n = 17) and their family members were measured. Plasma serotonin levels in autism mothers were significantly lower than in mothers of normal children (P = 0.002). Plasma serotonin levels correlated between autism mothers and their children, but differed between autistic children and their fathers (P = 0.028) and siblings (P = 0.063). Low maternal plasma serotonin may be a risk factor for autism through effects on fetal brain development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)182-186
Number of pages5
JournalPediatric Neurology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Neurology


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