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Determination of homovanillic acid and vanillylmandelic acid in urine of autistic children by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry

Joanna Kaluzna-Czaplinska, Ewa Socha, Jacek Rynkowski

Med Sci Monit 2010; 16(9): CR445-450

ID: 881133


Background:    Studies suggest dopamine nervous systems are involved in the pathogenesis of autistic disorder. Quantification of urinary homovanillic acid (HVA) and vanillylmandelic acid (VMA) can be a very important tool in the study of disorders of dopamine metabolism in autistic children.
    Material/Methods:    The urine specimens were collected from 20 autistic children and 36 neurologically normal children. Urinary HVA and VMA were simultaneously analyzed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. The method involves extraction of HVA and VMA from urinary samples and derivatization to N,O-bis(trimethylsilyl)trifluoroacetamide derivatives.
    Results:    The detection limits are 0.15 µg/mL and 0.23 µg/mL for VMA and HVA, respectively. The levels of HVA and VMA were higher in the urine of autistic children (28.8±15.5 µmol/mmol creatinine and 22.2±13.0 µmol/mmol creatinine, respectively) compared with those of the generally healthy children (4.6±0.7 µmol/mmol creatinine for HVA and 3.8±0.6 µmol/mmol creatinine for VMA).
    Conclusions:    We proposed a simple, rapid method for a routine analysis of human urine to detect HVA and VMA related to an abnormal functional imbalance of the dopamine system, and showed our experience of application of this method to patients with a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders. These results suggest significant differences in the levels of HVA and VMA between autistic and healthy children.

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