: It is common nowadays to refer to autism as a spectrum. Increased evidence of the involvement of steroid metabolites has been shown by the presence of stronger alterations in Kanner’s syndrome compared with Asperger syndrome. Methods
: 24 h urine samples were collected from 20 boys with Asperger syndrome, 21 boys with Kanner’s syndrome, and identically sized control groups, each matched for age, weight, and height for comprehensive steroid hormone metabolite analysis via gas chromatography–mass spectrometry. Results
: Higher levels of most steroid metabolites were detected in boys with Kanner’s syndrome and Asperger syndrome compared to their matched controls. These differences were more pronounced in affected individuals with Kanner’s syndrome versus Asperger syndrome. Furthermore, a specific and unique pattern of alteration of androsterone, etiocholanolone, progesterone, tetrahydrocortisone, and tetrahydrocortisol was identified in boys with Kanner’s syndrome and Asperger syndrome. Interestingly, in both matched samples, only androsterone, etiocholanolone, progesterone, tetrahydrocortisone, tetrahydrocortisol, and 5a-tetrahydrocortisol groups were positively correlated. In the Asperger syndrome group, all metabolites showed a positive correlation. In the Kanner’s syndrome group, 5-a tetrahydrocortisol with androsterone showed a positive correlation. Conclusions
: Due to differences in the level of alteration, the premise that Asperger syndrome is on the mild side of the autism spectrum and that Kanner’s syndrome is on the severe side is supported, but alteration patterns yield different phenotypic expressions.
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