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

  • Gagan Joshi
  • Joseph Biederman
  • Janet Wozniak
  • Rachel L. Goldin
  • Dave Crowley
  • Stephannie Furtak
  • Scott E. Lukas
  • Atilla Gönenç
Original Paper


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.


Autistic disorder Youth Magnetic resonance spectroscopy Glutamate 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gagan Joshi
    • 1
    • 2
  • Joseph Biederman
    • 1
    • 2
  • Janet Wozniak
    • 1
    • 2
  • Rachel L. Goldin
    • 1
  • Dave Crowley
    • 2
    • 3
  • Stephannie Furtak
    • 1
  • Scott E. Lukas
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Atilla Gönenç
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Pediatric Psychopharmacology Clinical and Research ProgramMassachusetts General HospitalBostonUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryHarvard Medical SchoolCambridgeUSA
  3. 3.McLean Imaging CenterMcLean HospitalBelmontUSA
  4. 4.Behavioral Psychopharmacology Research LaboratoryMcLean HospitalBelmontUSA

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