A prospective study of transsulfuration biomarkers in autistic disorders

Neurochem Res. 2009 Feb;34(2):386-93. doi: 10.1007/s11064-008-9782-x. Epub 2008 Jul 9.


The goal of this study was to evaluate transsulfuration metabolites in participants diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). Transsulfuration metabolites, including: plasma reduced glutathione (GSH), plasma oxidized glutathione (GSSG), plasma cysteine, plasma taurine, plasma sulfate, and plasma free sulfate among participants diagnosed with ASDs (n = 38) in comparison to age-matched neurotypical controls were prospectively evaluated. Testing was conducted using Vitamin Diagnostics, Inc. (CLIA-approved). Participants diagnosed with ASDs had significantly (P < 0.001) decreased plasma reduced GSH, plasma cysteine, plasma taurine, plasma sulfate, and plasma free sulfate relative to controls. By contrast, participants diagnosed with ASDs had significantly (P < 0.001) increased plasma GSSG relative to controls. The present observations are compatible with increased oxidative stress and a decreased detoxification capacity, particularly of mercury, in patients diagnosed with ASDs. Patients diagnosed with ASDs should be routinely tested to evaluate transsulfuration metabolites, and potential treatment protocols should be evaluated to potentially correct the transsulfuration abnormalities observed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Autistic Disorder / blood*
  • Biomarkers / blood*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cysteine / blood
  • Female
  • Glutathione / blood
  • Glutathione Disulfide / blood
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sulfates / blood
  • Sulfur / metabolism*
  • Taurine / blood


  • Biomarkers
  • Sulfates
  • Taurine
  • Sulfur
  • Glutathione
  • Cysteine
  • Glutathione Disulfide