Decreased Phenol Sulfotransferase Linked to Common Autism Biomarker

Hyperserotonemia Has Been Associated with ASD for Decades for Unknown Reasons Until Now

Hyperserotonemia is the state of increased whole blood serotonin within the body. The condition is the most replicated biochemical abnormality associated with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The etiology of this biomarker was poorly understood until now. A new French study published in the highly respected journal Translational Psychiatry has discovered that decreased phenol sulfotransferase (PST) affects serotonin sulfation leading to hyperserotonemia. By using blood samples from 97 individuals with ASD and their first-degree relatives (138 parents and 56 siblings) and comparing them to 106 controls, the study authors investigated serotonin sulfation by PST. The researchers discovered that compared to the control group, individuals with ASD and their first degree relatives had significantly decreased PST which in turn caused hyperserotonemia. The research team was elated to propose for the first time a biochemical mechanism for hyperserotonemia in individuals with ASD. This condition is associated with decreased PST activities which can lead to impaired sulfation metabolism. The study’s authors call for more research into the underlying mechanisms of hyperserotonemia to evaluate the impact it may have on the etiology of autism. 

Original Study

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