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      Low oxytocin and melatonin levels and their possible role in the diagnosis and prognosis in Iraqi autistic children

      , BSc, MSc, , MSc, PhD, , MBChB, FIBMS

      Saudi Medical Journal

      Saudi Medical Journal

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          To test the possible association between oxytocin and melatonin levels with the severity of social and cognitive dysfunctions, and to study the correlation between these parameters in children with autism.


          A case-control study was carried out in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, College of Medicine, Al-Nahrain University, Baghdad, Iraq. The study was performed on 60 male autistic patients recruited from the Pediatric Department of Al-Sader General Hospital, Baghdad, Iraq between November 2014 and April 2015. The levels of oxytocin and melatonin were measured in the serum of these autistic male patients, and categorized as mild, moderate, and severe (20 patients each), and was compared with 26 age- and gender-matched control subjects.


          The data indicated that the levels of oxytocin (44.72 ± 36.1 µIU/mL) and melatonin in patients (23.08 ± 10.41 pg/mL) were significantly lower ( p<0.05) than that of age-matched (102.1 ± 34.31 µIU/mL) and gender-matched controls (53.05 ± 38.38 pg/mL). These parameters were remarkably associated with the severity of the disease that was indicated by the significant decrease in the levels of oxytocin (47 ± 25.47 µIU/mL) and melatonin in moderate (20 ± 6.14 pg/mL), and patients with severe oxytocin (27.92 ± 10.23 µIU/mL) and patients with severe melatonin (21.69 ± 7.02 pg/mL) when compared with mild autistic patients with oxytocin (59.22 ± 27.32 µIU/mL) and melatonin (27.55 ± 14.71 pg/mL). These 2 parameters showed a significant positive correlation with each other in moderate (r=0.513; p=0.021), and severe patients (r=0.598; p=0.005).


          Receiver operating characteristic analysis revealed that oxytocin can be considered as a good diagnostic marker in severe autistic patients while melatonin can be considered as a good diagnostic marker in all autistic subgroups. This study proves the possibility of using oxytocin and melatonin in the diagnosis, and as markers of autism severity.

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          Most cited references 22

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          Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders.

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            Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th ed.

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              Proteome-based plasma biomarkers for Alzheimer's disease.

              Alzheimer's disease is a common and devastating disease for which there is no readily available biomarker to aid diagnosis or to monitor disease progression. Biomarkers have been sought in CSF but no previous study has used two-dimensional gel electrophoresis coupled with mass spectrometry to seek biomarkers in peripheral tissue. We performed a case-control study of plasma using this proteomics approach to identify proteins that differ in the disease state relative to aged controls. For discovery-phase proteomics analysis, 50 people with Alzheimer's dementia were recruited through secondary services and 50 normal elderly controls through primary care. For validation purposes a total of 511 subjects with Alzheimer's disease and other neurodegenerative diseases and normal elderly controls were examined. Image analysis of the protein distribution of the gels alone identifies disease cases with 56% sensitivity and 80% specificity. Mass spectrometric analysis of the changes observed in two-dimensional electrophoresis identified a number of proteins previously implicated in the disease pathology, including complement factor H (CFH) precursor and alpha-2-macroglobulin (alpha-2M). Using semi-quantitative immunoblotting, the elevation of CFH and alpha-2M was shown to be specific for Alzheimer's disease and to correlate with disease severity although alternative assays would be necessary to improve sensitivity and specificity. These findings suggest that blood may be a rich source for biomarkers of Alzheimer's disease and that CFH, together with other proteins such as alpha-2M may be a specific markers of this illness.

                Author and article information

                Saudi Med J
                Saudi Med J
                Saudi Medical Journal
                Saudi Medical Journal (Saudi Arabia )
                January 2016
                : 37
                : 1
                : 29-36
                From the Department of Pharmacy (Abdulamir), Al Yarmouk University College, the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry (Abdul-Rasheed), College of Medicine, Al-Nahrain University, the Ministry of Health (Abdulghani), Baghdad, Iraq
                Author notes
                Address correspondence and reprint request to: Dr. Omar F. Abdul-Rasheed, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, College of Medicine, Al-Nahrain University, Baghdad, Iraq. E-mail: omar_rasheed39@
                Copyright: © Saudi Medical Journal

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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