Brain MR spectroscopy in autism spectrum disorder—the GABA excitatory/inhibitory imbalance theory revisited

Research Area: Research Year: 2015
Type of Publication: Article Keywords: ASD, GABA, MRS, MEGA-PRESS, ASSQ
Authors: Brix, Maiken Kirkegaard; Ersland, Lars; Hugdahl, Kenneth; Grüner, Renate; Posserud, Maj-Britt; Hammar, Åsa; Craven, Alexander R.; Noeske, Ralph; Evans, C. John; Walker, Hanne B.; Midtvedt, Tore; Beyer, Mona K.
Abstract:
Magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) from voxels placed in the left anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) was measured from 14 boys with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and 24 gender and age-matched typically developing (TD) control group. Our main aims were to compare the concentration of γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) between the two groups, and to investigate the relationship between brain metabolites and autism symptom severity in the ASD group. We did find a significant negative correlation in the ASD group between Autism Spectrum Screening Questionnaire (ASSQ) and GABA+/Cr, which may imply that severity of symptoms in ASD is associated with differences in the level of GABA in the brain, supporting the excitatory/inhibitory (E/I) imbalance theory. However we did not find a significant difference between the two groups in GABA levels.
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