Urinary Porphyrin Excretion in Neurotypical and Autistic Children

James S. Woods; Sarah E. Armel; Denise I. Fulton; Jason Allen; Kristine Wessels; P. Lynne Simmonds; Doreen Granpeesheh; Elizabeth Mumper; J. Jeffrey Bradstreet; Diana Echeverria; Nicholas J. Heyer; James P.K. Rooney


Environ Health Perspect. 2010;118(10):1450-1457. 

In This Article


Mean urinary porphyrin concentrations are inherently high in young children compared with those in adults and decline by as much as 2.5 times between ages 2 and 12 years. Coproporphyrin and heptacarboxyl-, hexacarboxyl-, and pentacarboxylporphyrins were generally elevated among autistic children compared with NT children of the same age. Elevated porphyrin levels among AU children were not associated with measures of past or current Hg exposure, and a porphyrin pattern consistent with that seen in adults with prolonged Hg exposure was not apparent. These findings suggest that disordered porphyrin metabolism may be a salient characteristic of autism and encourage further investigation of genetic, metabolic, and/or environmental factors that may explain this association.


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