Maternal Dyslipidemia, Plasma Branched-Chain Amino Acids, and the Risk of Child Autism Spectrum Disorder: Evidence of Sex Difference

Anita A. Panjwani, Yuelong Ji, Jed W. Fahey, Amanda Palmer, Guoying Wang, Xiumei Hong, Barry Zuckerman, Xiaobin Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


In contrast to the well-observed associations between obesity, diabetes, and autism spectrum disorder (ASD), the roles of maternal dyslipidemia and sex disparity in ASD have not been well-studied. We examined the joint associations of maternal plasma cholesterols, branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) and child sex on child ASD risk. We analyzed data from 756 mother-infant pairs (86 ASD) from the Boston Birth Cohort. Maternal plasma cholesterols and BCAAs were measured in samples collected 24–72 h postpartum. We found that in this urban, low-income prospective birth cohort, low maternal high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), above-median maternal plasma BCAA concentrations, and male sex additively or synergistically increased risk of ASD. Additional studies are necessary to confirm our findings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019



  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Branched-chain amino acids
  • Maternal cholesterols
  • Metabolomics
  • Pre- and perinatal risk factors
  • Sex differences

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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