Elevated serotonin levels in autism: association with the major histocompatibility complex

Neuropsychobiology. 1996;34(2):72-5. doi: 10.1159/000119295.


Two of the most consistently observed biological findings in autism are increased serotonin levels in the blood and immunological abnormalities (including autoreactivity with tissues of the central nervous system). The purpose of this investigation was to determine if any relationship exists between these two sets of observations. Our laboratory has found and confirmed associations of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) with autism. Since the MHC is known to regulate the immune system and is also associated with autoimmune disorders, we studied serum serotonin levels in 20 autistic subjects with or without MHC types previously found to be associated with autism. A positive relationship was observed between elevated serotonin levels and the MHC types previously associated with autism.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Autistic Disorder / metabolism*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Major Histocompatibility Complex*
  • Male
  • Serotonin / metabolism*


  • Serotonin