, Volume 41, Issue 7, pp 517-519

Brain metabolites in the hippocampus-amygdala region and cerebellum in autism: an 1H-MR spectroscopy study

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Histological abnormalities of the brain in autism have been investigated extensively. We studied metabolites in the hippocampus-amygdala (HA) region and cerebellum. We examined the right HA region and left cerebellar hemisphere of 27 autistic patients 2–18 years old, 21 boys and 6 girls and 10 normal children 6–14 years old, 4 boys and 6 girls, using the STEAM sequence. This sequence was used to minimise the influence of relaxation times. The N-acetyl aspartate (NAA) concentration was significantly lower (P = 0.042) in autistic patients than in normal children (9.37 and 10.95 mM, respectively). There was no significant difference in other metabolites. The correlation coefficient (r value) of NAA between the HA region and cerebellum was 0.616. The decreased NAA concentration may be due to neuronal hypofunction or immature neurons. The NAA concentration in the HA region and cerebellum may be related, because of neuronal circuits or networks.

Received: 5 December 1998 Accepted: 16 December 1998