The relationship between repetitive behaviors and growth hormone response to sumatriptan challenge in adult autistic disorder

Eric Hollander, Sherie Novotny, Andrea Allen, Bonnie Aronowitz, Charles Cartwright, Concetta DeCaria

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

55 Scopus citations


Autism is heterogeneous with respect to clinical symptoms and etiology. To sort out this heterogeneity in autism, we investigated whether specific neurobiological markers vary in parallel to core symptomatology. Specifically, we assessed growth hormone response to the 5-HT 1d agonist, sumatriptan, and linked this measure of serotonergic function to the severity of repetitive behaviors in adult autistic patients. Eleven adult patients with autism or Asperger's disorder were randomized to single dose sumatriptan (6 mg SQ) and placebo challenges, separated by a one-week interval. In adult autistic disorders, severity of repetitive behaviors at baseline, as measured by YBOCS-compulsion score, significantly positively correlated with both peak delta growth hormone response and area under the curve growth hormone response to sumatriptan. Thus, the severity of a specific behavioral dimension in autism (repetitive behaviors) parallels the sensitivity of the 5-HT 1d receptor, as manifest by sumatriptan elicited GH response. Copyright (C) 2000 American College of Neuropsychopharmacology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)163-167
Number of pages5
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2000
Externally publishedYes



  • Asperger's disorder
  • Autism
  • Growth hormone
  • Repetitive behavior
  • Serotonin
  • Sumatriptan

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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