Elevated urine levels of bufotenine in patients with autistic spectrum disorders and schizophrenia

Enzo Emanuele, Roberto Colombo, Valentina Martinelli, Natascia Brondino, Mara Marini, Marianna Boso, Francesco Barale, Pierluigi Politi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE: Previous studies have suggested that the endogeneous psychotomimetic molecule bufotenine (N-N-dimethyl-5-idroxytryptamine) may play a role in the pathogenesis of severe mental disorders. The potential association of bufotenine with the clinical features of autism and schizophrenia is not entirely understood. In this study, we measured urinary levels of bufotenine in subjects with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD), schizophrenia and healthy comparison subjects free of psychiatric symptoms. We also sought to assess whether urine concentrations of this molecule may be associated with the clinical characteristics of psychiatric patients. DESIGN: Urine bufotenine levels were measured using a high-performance liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (HPLC-MS) assay in young adults with severe ASD (n=15), patients with schizophrenia (n=15), and healthy control subjects (n=18). The Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scale was used to measure adaptive behaviors in ASD individuals. The Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS) was used for patients with schizophrenia. RESULTS: Urine bufotenine levels were significantly higher in ASD subjects (3.30 ± 0.49 μg/L, p

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-121
Number of pages5
JournalNeuroendocrinology Letters
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • Autism
  • Bufotenine
  • High-performance liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry
  • Schizophrenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Neurology


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