Several studies indicate that nitric oxide (NO) is involved in the aetiopathogenesis of many neuropsychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, Alzheimer's disease, Hungtington disease and stroke. Although it has not been investigated yet, several recent studies proposed that NO may have a pathophysiological role in autism. Adrenomedullin (AM), a recently discovered 52-amino acide peptide hormone, induces vasorelaxation by activating adenylate cyclase and also by stimulating NO release. AM immune reactivity is present in the brain consistent with a role as a neurotransmitter. It has been stated that NO and AM do function in the regulation of many neurodevelopmental processes. We hypothesized that NO and AM activities have been affected in autistic patients and aimed to examine these molecules. Twenty-six autistic patients and 22 healthy control subjects were included in this study. AM and total nitrite (a metabolite of NO) levels have been measured in plasma. The mean values of plasma total nitrite and AM levels in the autistic group were significantly higher than control values, respectively (p < 0.001, p = 0.028). There is no correlation between total nitrite and AM levels (r = 0.11, p = 0.31). Certainly, this subject needs much further research investigating autistic patients in earlier periods of life and with subtypes of the disorder. Copyright (C) 2002 John Wiley Sons, Ltd.