An investigation of porphyrinuria in Australian children with autism

J Toxicol Environ Health A. 2008;71(20):1349-51. doi: 10.1080/15287390802271723.

Abstract

Two recent studies, from France (Nataf et al., 2006) and the United States (Geier & Geier, 2007), identified atypical urinary porphyrin profiles in children with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). These profiles serve as an indirect measure of environmental toxicity generally, and mercury (Hg) toxicity specifically, with the latter being a variable proposed as a causal mechanism of ASD (Bernard et al., 2001; Mutter et al., 2005). To examine whether this phenomenon occurred in a sample of Australian children with ASD, an analysis of urinary porphyrin profiles was conducted. A consistent trend in abnormal porphyrin levels was evidenced when data was compared with those previously reported in the literature. The results are suggestive of environmental toxic exposure impairing heme synthesis. Three independent studies from three continents have now demonstrated that porphyrinuria is concomitant with ASD, and that Hg may be a likely xenobiotic to produce porphyrin profiles of this nature.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Autistic Disorder / epidemiology
  • Autistic Disorder / etiology
  • Autistic Disorder / urine*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Mercury Poisoning / urine*
  • Porphyrins / urine*
  • Reference Values

Substances

  • Porphyrins