Vasopressin helps predict autism spectrum disorder

Low concentration of the neuropeptide vasopressin in the cerebrospinal fluid may be a biomarker of autism spectrum disorder before the appearance of the first symptoms. It found American scientists who analyzed samples of the liquid 11 babies before they were diagnosed, and compared them with a control group. The concentration of vasopressin was significantly lower in children in the active experimental group, while conclusions about cause-effect relationships to do yet before I write the scientists in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

In 2018, scientists scientists led by Karen Parker (Karen Parker) from Stanford University foundthat the severity of symptoms of autism spectrum disorders in young children correlates with the concentration in their cerebrospinal fluid vasopressin — peptide hormone and neuropeptide, which involved (among other things) in shaping social behavior and attachment. In children with the most severe manifestations of disorders of the vasopressin concentration was the lowest, and scientists have concluded that it can be used as a biomarker for early diagnosis.

In his new work, the researchers decided to test whether the observed low levels of vasopressin in the cerebrospinal fluid of children before the appearance of the first symptoms. For this, the researchers used samples of cerebrospinal fluid collected in 918 infants and newborns under three months. Of them, scientists have taken samples of the fluid of 11 infants who have later (age 1.5 years) were diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, and 22 infants in the control group.

The concentration of vasopressin in the cerebrospinal fluid samples of infants later diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, were significantly (p = 0,0122) lower than babies from the control group: the level of vasopressin in the cerebrospinal fluid was significantly predicted later diagnosis, especially in the correction for the presence of attention deficit disorder and hyperactivity (p < 0.0001). The concentration of oxytocin (another, similar in structure neuropeptide involved in the formation of social behavior) between groups were not significantly different.

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