Proton Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy as a Probe into the Pathophysiology of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD): A Review
Article first published online: 21 FEB 2013
© 2013 International Society for Autism Research, Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Volume 6, Issue 2, pages 119–133, April 2013
How to Cite
Baruth, J. M., Wall, C. A., Patterson, M. C. and Port, J. D. (2013), Proton Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy as a Probe into the Pathophysiology of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD): A Review. Autism Res, 6: 119–133. doi: 10.1002/aur.1273
- Issue published online: 23 APR 2013
- Article first published online: 21 FEB 2013
- Manuscript Accepted: 8 DEC 2012
- Manuscript Received: 14 MAR 2012
- Autism Spectrum Disorders;
- proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy;
Proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H-MRS) is a safe, noninvasive way of quantifying in vivo biochemical and metabolite concentration levels in individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Findings to date suggest ASD is associated with widespread reduction in N-acetylaspartate (NAA), creatine plus phosphocreatine (Cr), choline-containing compounds (Cho), myo-inositol (mI), and glutamate plus glutamine plus gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (Glx); however, variable findings, and even substantial increases, are not uncommon depending on the study and/or region-of-interest. Widespread reduction of NAA, Cr, Cho, mI, and Glx in ASD likely reflects impaired neuronal function and/or metabolism related to abnormal neurodevelopmental processes. Future studies should attempt to relate 1H-MRS findings to histological findings and control for variability in subject age and functioning level; this would assist in evaluating the relationship between 1H-MRS metabolic levels and neuronal and glial cell densities, as well as neurodevelopmental process associated with ASD. Furthermore, more longitudinal 1H-MRS studies are needed in both control and ASD subjects to attempt to standardize metabolite levels across different developmental periods in well-defined endophenotypes. This will provide for a standard rubric for which metabolic aberrations (as well as treatment responses) can be measured. With higher magnetic field strengths and spectral-editing techniques capable of quantifying less-concentrated metabolites, 1H-MRS will continue to be an important tool in ASD research. Autism Res 2013, 6: 119–133. © 2013 International Society for Autism Research, Wiley Periodicals, Inc.