Current Hormones Project

The ARC has conducted a unique series of studies into the role of fetal testosterone in autism spectrum conditions. This  prompted the investigation into whether current hormone levels might also be atypical in autism and Asperger Syndrome. This study has tested the sex steroids (e.g., free testosterone, oestrogen, androstendione, sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), dihydrotestosterone (DHT), luteinizing hormone (LH), oestradial, progesterone) in blood serum samples from men and women with and without Asperger Syndrome. Analysis involved ELIZAs as well as mass spectrometry. This study was in part stimulated by the survey of tesosterone-related medical conditions we completed, which found that polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and some androgen-related tumours were more common in women with Asperger Syndrome, and their mothers. A recent finding is elevated levels of the testosterone precursor androstenedione in adults with AS. Dr Liliana Ruta is also leading a collaboration with Catania Hospital in Sicily into pubertal development in autism.


Selected References

715: P. Bos, D. Hofman, E. Hermans, E. Montoya, S. Baron-Cohen, J. van Honk (2016)
Testosterone reduces functional connectivity during the ‘Reading the Mind in the Eyes’ Test
Psychoneuroendocrinology 68:194-201

604: A Pohl, S Cassidy, B Auyeung, S Baron-Cohen (2014)
Uncovering steroidopathy in women with autism: a latent class analysis
Molecular Autism 5:27

506: L. Ruta, D. Mazzone, L. Mazzone, S. Wheelwright, S. Baron-Cohen (2012)
The Autism-Spectrum Quotient-Italian Version: A Cross- Cultural Confirmation of the Broader Autism Phenotype
Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 42:625-633

507: S. Baron-Cohen, M. Lombardo, B Auyeung, E. Ashwin, B. Chakrabarti, R. Knickmeyer (2011)
Why Are Autism Spectrum Conditions More Prevalent in Males?
PLoS Biology 9(6):e1001081

492: J. van Honk, D. Schuttera, P. Bosa, A. Kruijtc, E. Lentjesd, S. Baron-Cohen (2011)
Testosterone administration impairs cognitive empathy in women depending on second-to-fourth digit ratio
PNAS 108(8):3448-3452

484: E. Schwarz, P. Guest, H. Rahmoune, L. Wang, Y. Levin, E. Ingudomnukul, L. Ruta, L.Kent, M. Spain, S. Baron-Cohen, S. Bahn (2011)
Sex-specific serum biomarker patterns in adults with Asperger's Syndrome
Molecular Psychiatry 16:1213-1220

375: E. Ingudomnukul, S. Baron-Cohen, S. Wheelwright and R. Knickmeyer (2007)
Elevated rates of testosterone-related disorders in women with autism spectrum conditions
Hormones and Behavior 51:597-604

391: S. Baron-Cohen, R. Knickmeyer and M. K. Belmonte (2005)
Sex Differences in the Brain: Implications for Explaining Autism
Science 310:819-823

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