The plasma zinc/serum copper ratio as a biomarker in children with autism spectrum disorders

  • Faber S
  • Zinn G
  • Kern J
 et al. 
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Abstract

The frequency of zinc deficiency, copper toxicity and low zinc/copper in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) may indicate decrement in metallothionein system functioning. A retrospective review of plasma zinc, serum copper and zinc/copper was performed on data from 230 children with autistic disorder, pervasive developmental disorder-NOS and Asperger's syndrome. The entire cohort's mean zinc level was 77.2 microg dl(-1), mean copper level was 131.5 microg dl(-1), and mean Zn/Cu was 0.608, which was below the 0.7 cut-off of the lowest 2.5% of healthy children. The plasma zinc/serum copper ratio may be a biomarker of heavy metal, particularly mercury, toxicity in children with ASDs.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Aspergers syndrome
  • Autistic disorder
  • Mercury
  • Metallothionein system dysfunction
  • Pervasive developmental disorder-NOS
  • Plasma zinc/serum copper ratio
  • Zinc deficiency

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Authors

  • Scott Faber

  • Gregory M. Zinn

  • John C. Kern

  • H. M. Skip Kingston

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