Changes in adipokine levels in Autism spectrum disorders

David Henrique Rodrigues, Natália Pessoa Rocha, Larissa Fonseca Da Cunha Sousa, Izabela Guimarães Barbosa, Arthur Kummer, Antônio Lúcio Teixeira

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Background and Objective: The etiopathogenesis of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) is largely unknown, but it seems to involve dysfunction in several biological systems. Among many possible biological pathways, the immune system has emerged as potentially involved. Recent studies have shown association between cytokines (molecules that mediate immune cell interaction) and ASD. Adipokines are cytokines secreted mainly by adipose tissue and may have systemic effects. The main objective of this study was to compare the plasma levels of three adipokines between patients with ASD and healthy controls. Another aim was to correlate the levels of these adipokines and the severity of autistic symptoms as measured by the Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS). Methods: We collected plasma from 30 patients and 19 controls and measured the levels of adiponectin, leptin and resistin using a commercially available kit. We also used the SRS as a tool to assess the severity of autistic symptoms. Results: We found decreased levels of resistin, increased levels of leptin and unaltered levels of adiponectin in plasma from ASD subjects in comparison with controls. There was also a negative correlation between the levels of adiponectin and the severity of symptoms as assessed by the SRS. Conclusion: There are significant changes in the plasma levels of adipokines from patients with ASDs. They suggest the occurrence of systemic changes in ASD and may be hallmarks of the disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6-10
Number of pages5
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Adipokines
  • Autism
  • Cytokines
  • Immune system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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