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J Autism Dev Disord. 2014 Aug;44(8):1833-45. doi: 10.1007/s10803-014-2078-x.

Downregulation of GABAA receptor protein subunits α6, β2, δ, ε, γ2, θ, and ρ2 in superior frontal cortex of subjects with autism.

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Division of Neuroscience Research, Department of Psychiatry, University of Minnesota Medical School, 420 Delaware St SE, MMC 392, Minneapolis, MN, 55455, USA,


We measured protein and mRNA levels for nine gamma-aminobutyric acid A (GABAA) receptor subunits in three brain regions (cerebellum, superior frontal cortex, and parietal cortex) in subjects with autism versus matched controls. We observed changes in mRNA for a number of GABAA and GABAB subunits and overall reduced protein expression for GABAA receptor alpha 6 (GABRα6), GABAA receptor beta 2 (GABRβ2), GABAA receptor delta (GABRδ), GABAA receptor epsilon (GABRε), GABAA receptor gamma 2 (GABRγ2), GABAA receptor theta (GABRθ), and GABAA receptor rho 2 (GABRρ2) in superior frontal cortex from subjects with autism. Our data demonstrate systematic changes in GABAA&B subunit expression in brains of subjects with autism, which may help explain the presence of cognitive abnormalities in subjects with autism.

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