Brief report: circadian melatonin, thyroid-stimulating hormone, prolactin, and cortisol levels in serum of young adults with autism

J Autism Dev Disord. 1995 Dec;25(6):641-54. doi: 10.1007/BF02178193.


An abnormal circadian pattern of melatonin was found in a group of young adults with an extreme autism syndrome. Although not out of phase, the serum melatonin levels differed from normal in amplitude and mesor. Marginal changes in diurnal rhythms of serum TSH and possibly prolactin were also recorded. Subjects with seizures tended to have an abnormal pattern of melatonin correlated with EEG changes. In others, a parallel was evidenced between thyroid function and impairment in verbal communication. There appears to be a tendency for various types of neuroendocrinological abnormalities in autistics, and melatonin, as well as possibly TSH and perhaps prolactin, could serve as biochemical variables of the biological parameters of the disease.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Autistic Disorder / blood*
  • Circadian Rhythm*
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / blood*
  • Male
  • Melatonin / blood*
  • Melatonin / metabolism
  • Prolactin / blood*
  • Radioimmunoassay
  • Thyrotropin / blood*


  • Prolactin
  • Thyrotropin
  • Melatonin
  • Hydrocortisone