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High Levels of Estrogen in the Womb Linked to Autism

Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are defined as developmental disorders affecting social interactions and the presence of a range of other issues including problems with speech, cognitive impairment, and behavioral issues. There is no single cause for autism. ASD results from a combination of genetic (30-35%) and environmental (65-70%) factors. Male sex hormones, androgens, have previously been linked with increasing the risk of autism. This has been suggested as one explanation for why it is more common in males than females. New research is now suggesting that autism could be a prenatal disorder caused by high levels of estrogen. It is the latest study to support the prenatal sex steroid theory of autism that was first proposed over 20 years ago.

In a recent study, scientists tested amniotic fluid samples and found that estrogen hormones were significantly higher in fetuses who later developed autism. These high levels of prenatal estrogens are even more predictive of autism than high levels of prenatal androgens such as testosterone. These hormones are likely to interact with genetic factors to affect the developing brain. The source of the increased hormone levels is not clear. Furthermore, it is not known how prenatal sex steroid hormones may impact development in both males and females and additional understanding is needed.

For more information: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31358906

Enzo Life Sciences provides a wide variety of products for your Neuroscience research needs. Our platforms provide a range of immunoassays, small molecules, antibodies, and proteins. Enzo Life Sciences offers hundreds of ELISA kits in both immunometric and competitive assay formats. Our 17β-Estradiol high sensitivity ELISA kit detects as little as 14 pg/ml of 17β-Estradiol. Our highly sensitive Testosterone ELISA kit detects as low as 5.67 pg/ml and lot-after-lot reproducible results provide excellent consistency, ideal for longitudinal studies.

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