AUTHORS: Pivovarciova, A., Durdiakova, J., Babinska, K., Kubranska, A., Vokalova, L., Minarik, G., Celec, P., Murin, M. and Ostatnikova, D.

ABSTRACT: Introduction: Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and hyperactivity symptoms exhibit an incidence that is male-biased. Thus androgen activity can be considered a plausible biological risk factor for these disorders. However, there is insufficient information about the association between increased androgen activity and hyperactivity symptoms in children with ASD.
Methods: In the present study, the relationship between parameters of androgenicity (plasmatic testosterone levels and androgen receptor sensitivity) and hyperactivity in 60 boys (age 3–15) with ASD is investigated. Given well documented differences in parent and trained examiners ratings of symptom severity, we employed a standardized parent`s questionnaire (Nisonger Child Behavior Rating Form) as well as a direct examiner`s rating (Autism diagnostic observation schedule) for assessment of hyperactivity symptoms.
Results: Although it was found there was no significant association between actual plasmatic testosterone levels and hyperactivity symptoms, the number of CAG triplets was significantly negatively correlated with hyperactivity symptoms (R2 = 0.118, p = 0.007) in the sample, indicating increased androgen receptor sensitivity in association with hyperactivity symptoms. Direct trained examiner´s assessment appeared to be a relevant method for evaluating of behavioral problems in the investigation of biological underpinnings of these problems in our study.
Conclusions: A potential ASD subtype characterized by increased rates of hyperactivity symptoms might have distinct etiopathogenesis and require a specific behavioral and pharmacological approach. We propose an increase of androgen receptor sensitivity as a biomarker for a specific ASD subtype accompanied with hyperactivity symptoms. Findings are discussed in terms of their implications for practice and future research.

PLoS One, 2016. 11(2): p. e0149657.