Possible Metabolic Alterations among Autistic Male Children: Clinical and Biochemical Approaches

  • Mohammed H. HassanEmail author
  • Tarek Desoky
  • Hala M. Sakhr
  • Romany H. Gabra
  • Ali Helmi Bakri


The present cross-sectional, hospital-based study was carried out on 146 Egyptian male children, 73 males with autism who were comparable with another 73 healthy age- and sex-matched children, recruited from the outpatients’ psychiatric clinics of the Neuropsychiatric and Pediatric Departments of South Valley and Assiut University Hospitals, Egypt. Neuropsychological assessments of autistic males were done using CARS, short sensory profile and intelligent quotients. Serum markers of mitochondrial dysfunction (lactate, pyruvate, and lactate to pyruvate ratio, creatine kinase (CK), l-carnitine, ammonia, lactate dehydrogenase, pyruvate kinase, alanine transaminase and aspartate transaminase), oxidative stress and blood levels of heavy metals (mercury, lead and aluminium) were measured. Serum cholesterol, cortisol, free testosterone, estradiol, dehydroepiandrostenedione, adenosine deaminase and Helicobacter pylori antigen in stool were also performed. There was evidence of mitochondrial dysfunction among autistic children. Additionally, there were significantly lower serum total cholesterol, cortisol and estradiol as well as significantly higher dehydroepiandrostenedione (DHEA) and free testosterone (p < 0.05 for all markers). Twenty-eight (38%) cases were positive for H. pylori antigen in their stool with significant higher serum ammonia and lower adenosine deaminase than in H. pylori-negative autistic children. Mitochondrial dysfunction, H. pylori infection and low cholesterol were prevalent among autistic male children, which should be targeted during autism management.


Autism Abnormal metabolism Biochemical assessments CARS IQ SSP 



We are grateful to our participants for taking part in the study.

Author Contributions

Study concept and design (MHH, TD, HMS, RH and AH); clinical assessments of patients (TD, HMS, RH and AH); sample collections and biochemical assays (MHH); data analysis and interpretations (MHH, TD, HMS, RH and AH); writing first draft of the manuscript (MHH); all authors approve the final version of the manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Informed Consent

Written informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study in accordance with procedures approved by the Research Ethics Committee of Faculty of Medicine, South Valley University, Qena, Egypt.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Medical Biochemistry, Faculty of MedicineSouth Valley UniversityQenaEgypt
  2. 2.Department of Neuropsychiatry, Faculty of MedicineSouth Valley UniversityQenaEgypt
  3. 3.Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of MedicineSouth Valley UniversityQenaEgypt
  4. 4.Department of Neuropsychiatry, Faculty of MedicineAssiut UniversityAssiutEgypt

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