Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder with pathogenesis not completely understood. Although a genetic origin has been recognized, it has been hypothesized a role for environmental factors, immune dysfunctions, and alterations of neurotransmitter systems. In young autistic patients we investigated plasma leptin and adiponectin levels over a year period. Thirty-five patients, mean age at the basal time 14.1+/-5.4 years, were enrolled. Controls were 35 healthy subjects, sex and age matched. Blood samples were withdrawn in the morning at the baseline and 1 year after. In patients leptin concentrations significantly increased, while adiponectin did not significantly change. Leptin values in patients were significantly higher than those found in controls at each time; adiponectin values did not differ at each time between patients and controls. Since patients were not obese, we could hypothesize that leptin might participate to clinical manifestations other than weight balance. The role of adiponectin in autism is still debatable.
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