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Eur Arch Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2013 Aug;263(5):379-84. doi: 10.1007/s00406-012-0369-9. Epub 2012 Sep 18.

Magnetic resonance spectroscopy study of the glutamatergic system in adolescent males with high-functioning autistic disorder: a pilot study at 4T.

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  • 1Pediatric Psychopharmacology Clinical and Research Program, Massachusetts General Hospital, 55 Fruit Street, YAW 6900, Boston, MA, 02114, USA. Joshi.Gagan@MGH.Harvard.edu


The pilot study aimed at examining the neural glutamatergic activity in autism. Seven adolescent males (mean age: 14 ± 1.8; age range: 12-17 years) with intact intellectual capacity (mean IQ: 108 ± 14.26; IQ range: 85-127) suffering from autistic disorder and an equal number of age- and sex-matched healthy controls underwent a two-dimensional magnetic resonance spectroscopy scan at 4T. Results indicated significantly high glutamate (Glu) levels in the anterior cingulate cortex of autistic disorder versus control subjects (paired t test p = 0.01) and a trend for lower Glu in the right medial temporal lobe, which was not statistically different between the groups (paired t test p = 0.06). These preliminary findings support the glutamatergic dysregulation hypothesis in autism and need to be replicated in a larger sample.

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