Reply| Volume 52, ISSUE 2, P143, July 15, 2002

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A further support to the hypothesis of a link between serotonin, autism, and the cerebellum: Reply

      We share with Dr. Marazziti and colleagues interest in their intriguing hypothesis regarding a possible link between serotonin and cerebellar pathology in autism. Although cerebellar pathology is virtually ubiquitous in autism and underlies aspects of neurobehavioral deficits in the disorder, it is only one of several sites of pathology in this disorder. Our recent magnetic resonance imaging investigations of autism reveal striking anatomic growth defects in cerebral and limbic as well as cerebellar structures, and growth defects in each region are present by 2 years of age. A major question is: what molecular mechanisms underlie these early neural growth abnormalities? We agree that serotonin, which influences brain development, could play a role.
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