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Non-Invasive Evaluation of the GABAergic/Glutamatergic System in Autistic Patients Observed by MEGA-Editing Proton MR Spectroscopy Using a Clinical 3 Tesla Instrument

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Abstract

Amino acids related to neurotransmitters and the GABAergic/glutamatergic system were measured using a 3 T-MRI instrument in 12 patients with autism and 10 normal controls. All measurements were performed in the frontal lobe (FL) and lenticular nuclei (LN) using a conventional sequence for n-acetyl aspartate (NAA) and glutamate (Glu), and the MEGA-editing method for GABA. The GABA level and [GABA]/[NAA] ratio were significantly lower (p < 0.01) in the FL, but not the LN, in patients with autism compared to normal controls. The [GABA]/[Glu] ratio in the FL was also significantly lower (p < 0.05) in the patients than in the normal controls, thus suggesting a possible abnormality in the regulation between GABA and Glu.

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Acknowledgments

This study was supported by a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (B) No. 19390321 form the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) and a Grant from the Japanese Society of Neuroradiology.

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Correspondence to Masafumi Harada.

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Harada, M., Taki, M.M., Nose, A. et al. Non-Invasive Evaluation of the GABAergic/Glutamatergic System in Autistic Patients Observed by MEGA-Editing Proton MR Spectroscopy Using a Clinical 3 Tesla Instrument. J Autism Dev Disord 41, 447–454 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-010-1065-0

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