Accessibility navigation

Increased serum androstenedione in adults with autism spectrum conditions

Ruta, L., Ingudomnukul, E., Taylor, K., Chakrabarti, B. ORCID: and Baron-Cohen, S. (2011) Increased serum androstenedione in adults with autism spectrum conditions. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 36 (8). pp. 1154-1163. ISSN 1873-3360

Full text not archived in this repository.

It is advisable to refer to the publisher's version if you intend to cite from this work. See Guidance on citing.

To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2011.02.007


Molecular and behavioural evidence points to an association between sex-steroid hormones and autism spectrum conditions (ASC) and/or autistic traits. Prenatal androgen levels are associated with autistic traits, and several genes involved in steroidogenesis are associated with autism, Asperger Syndrome and/or autistic traits. Furthermore, higher rates of androgen-related conditions (such as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, hirsutism, acne and hormone-related cancers) are reported in women with autism spectrum conditions. A key question therefore is if serum levels of gonadal and adrenal sex-steroids (particularly testosterone, estradiol, dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate and androstenedione) are elevated in individuals with ASC. This was tested in a total sample of n=166 participants. The final eligible sample for hormone analysis comprised n=128 participants, n=58 of whom had a diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome or high functioning autism (33 males and 25 females) and n=70 of whom were age- and IQ-matched typical controls (39 males and 31 females). ASC diagnosis (without any interaction with sex) strongly predicted androstenedione levels (p<0.01), and serum androstenedione levels were significantly elevated in the ASC group (Mann-Whitney W=2677, p=0.002), a result confirmed by permutation testing in females (permutation-corrected p=0.02). This result is discussed in terms of androstenedione being the immediate precursor of, and being converted into, testosterone, dihydrotestosterone, or estrogens in hormone-sensitive tissues and organs.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Interdisciplinary centres and themes > ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorders) Research Network
Interdisciplinary Research Centres (IDRCs) > Centre for Integrative Neuroscience and Neurodynamics (CINN)
Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Psychopathology and Affective Neuroscience
Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Department of Psychology
ID Code:19601

University Staff: Request a correction | Centaur Editors: Update this record

Page navigation