Distinct plasma profile of polar neutral amino acids, leucine, and glutamate in children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

J Autism Dev Disord. 2012 May;42(5):827-36. doi: 10.1007/s10803-011-1314-x.


The goal of this investigation was to examine plasma amino acid (AA) levels in children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD, N = 27) and neuro-typically developing controls (N = 20). We observed reduced plasma levels of most polar neutral AA and leucine in children with ASD. This AA profile conferred significant post hoc power for discriminating children with ASD from healthy children. Furthermore, statistical correlations suggested the lack of a typical decrease of glutamate and aspartate with age, and a non-typical increase of isoleucine and lysine with age in the ASD group. Findings from this limited prospective study warrant further examination of plasma AA levels in larger cross-sectional and longitudinal cohorts to adequately assess for relationships with developmental and clinical features of ASD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids, Neutral / blood*
  • Child
  • Child Development Disorders, Pervasive / blood*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Glutamic Acid / blood*
  • Humans
  • Leucine / blood*
  • Male


  • Amino Acids, Neutral
  • Glutamic Acid
  • Leucine