This study aims to assess cerebral metabolites in school-aged autistic patients through proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy.
This case-control study included 10 right-handed male children (median age, 9.53 years ± 1.80) with autism according to DSM-IV criteria, and 10 healthy age- and sex-matched healthy controls (median age, 8.52 years ± 1.42). Imaging was performed on a 1.5-T scanner utilizing a single voxel point-resolved spectroscopy (PRESS) technique (TR = 1,500 ms, TE = 30 ms). Four cerebral areas were evaluated: bilateral anterior cingulate, left striatum, left cerebellar hemisphere, and left frontal lobe. Peak areas and ratios to creatine (Cr) of N-acetylaspartate (NAA), choline (Cho), and myo-inositol (mI) were analyzed.
Compared with controls, autistic children showed a significant increase in mI (P= .021) and Cho (P= .042) peak areas in anterior cingulate and in mI/Cr ratio in anterior cingulate (P= .037) and left striatum (P= .035). The remaining metabolites and ratios were not significantly different between the 2 groups.
This study found a statistically significant increase in myo-inositol and choline in anterior cingulate and left striatum of autistic children compared with controls. In contrast to previous studies, NAA peak area and NAA/Cr and NAA/Cho ratios had no statistically significant decrease in any of the 4brain regions.