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Age of Autism Science Summary lteration of plasma glutamate and glutamine levels in children with high-functioning autism.

Science post imagePLoS One. 2011;6(10):e25340. Epub 2011 Oct 5.

Alteration of plasma glutamate and glutamine levels in children with high-functioning autism.

Shimmura C, Suda S, Tsuchiya KJ, Hashimoto K, Ohno K, Matsuzaki H, Iwata K, Matsumoto K, Wakuda T, Kameno Y, Suzuki K, Tsujii M, Nakamura K, Takei N, Mori N.


Department of Psychiatry and Neurology, Hamamatsu University School of Medicine, Hamamatsu, Japan.



It has recently been hypothesized that hyperglutamatergia in the brain is involved in the pathophysiology of autism. However, there is no conclusive evidence of the validity of this hypothesis. As peripheral glutamate/glutamine levels have been reported to be correlated with those of the central nervous system, the authors examined whether the levels of 25 amino acids, including glutamate and glutamine, in the platelet-poor plasma of drug-naïve, male children with high-functioning autism (HFA) would be altered compared with those of normal controls.


Plasma levels of 25 amino acids in male children (N = 23) with HFA and normally developed healthy male controls (N = 22) were determined using high-performance liquid chromatography. Multiple testing was allowed for in the analyses. Compared with the normal control group, the HFA group had higher levels of plasma glutamate and lower levels of plasma glutamine. No significant group difference was found in the remaining 23 amino acids. The effect size (Cohen's d) for glutamate and glutamine was large: 1.13 and 1.36, respectively. Using discriminant analysis with logistic regression, the two values of plasma glutamate and glutamine were shown to well-differentiate the HFA group from the control group; the rate of correct classification was 91%.


The present study suggests that plasma glutamate and glutamine levels can serve as a diagnostic tool for the early detection of autism, especially normal IQ autism. These findings indicate that glutamatergic abnormalities in the brain may be associated with the pathobiology of autism.

PMCID: PMC3187770

Free Article



[PubMed - in process]



This is fascinating! I recently got diagnosed with a gut dysbiosis issue, undermethylation (methylation pathway in the body not working correctly basically) and some gut parasite issues which are probably stemming from having a weak overall immunity. I've been learning a bit about the Autism and glutamine connection in my reading. I'm glad that people are finally realizing that Autism is very much a treatable issue.

Maurine Meleck

Am I allowed to mention a med on here? Not sure. So here is my e-mail.


If you don't mind me asking, how are you dealing with his uptake of glutamates? Thanks for any insight you can provide.

Maurine Meleck

Dealing with the uptake of glutamates in my grandson has proved to be one of the best therapies we have ever done and has definitely helped with his behavior and cognitive abilities. We only started it this past summer.

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