Article

Increased serum levels of glutamate in adult patients with autism.

Department of Psychiatry and Neurology, Hamamatsu University School of Medicine, Hamamatsu, Shizuoka 431-3192, Japan.
Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 4.03). 03/2007; 30(8):1472-7. DOI: 10.1016/j.pnpbp.2006.06.013
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Precise mechanisms underlying the pathophysiology of autism are currently unknown. Given the major role of glutamate in brain development, we have hypothesized that glutamatergic neurotransmission plays a role in the pathophysiology of autism. In this study, we studied whether amino acids (glutamate, glutamine, glycine, D-serine, and L-serine) related to glutamatergic neurotransmission are altered in serum of adult patients with autism.
We measured serum levels of amino acids in 18 male adult patients with autism and age-matched 19 male healthy subjects using high-performance liquid chromatography.
Serum levels (mean = 89.2 microM, S.D. = 21.5) of glutamate in the patients with autism were significantly (t = -4.48, df = 35, p < 0.001) higher than those (mean = 61.1 microM, S.D. = 16.5) of normal controls. In contrast, serum levels of other amino acids (glutamine, glycine, d-serine, l-serine) in the patients with autism did not differ from those of normal controls. There was a positive correlation (r = 0.523, p = 0.026) between serum glutamate levels and Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised (ADI-R) social scores in patients.
The present study suggests that an abnormality in glutamatergic neurotransmission may play a role in the pathophysiology of autism.

0 Bookmarks
 · 
224 Views
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Background Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is characterized by three core behavioral domains: social deficits, impaired communication, and repetitive behaviors. Glutamatergic/GABAergic imbalance has been found in various preclinical models of ASD. Additionally, autoimmunity immune dysfunction, and neuroinflammation are also considered as etiological mechanisms of this disorder. This study aimed to elucidate the relationship between glutamatergic/ GABAergic imbalance and neuroinflammation as two recently-discovered autism-related etiological mechanisms.Methods Twenty autistic patients aged 3 to 15 years and 19 age- and gender-matched healthy controls were included in this study. The plasma levels of glutamate, GABA and glutamate/GABA ratio as markers of excitotoxicity together with TNF-¿, IL-6, IFN-¿ and IFI16 as markers of neuroinflammation were determined in both groups.ResultsAutistic patients exhibited glutamate excitotoxicity based on a much higher glutamate concentration in the autistic patients than in the control subjects. Unexpectedly higher GABA and lower glutamate/GABA levels were recorded in autistic patients compared to control subjects. TNF-¿ and IL-6 were significantly lower, whereas IFN-¿ and IFI16 were remarkably higher in the autistic patients than in the control subjects.Conclusion Multiple regression analysis revealed associations between reduced GABA level, neuroinflammation and glutamate excitotoxicity. This study indicates that autism is a developmental synaptic disorder showing imbalance in GABAergic and glutamatergic synapses as a consequence of neuroinflammation.
    Journal of Neuroinflammation 11/2014; 11(1):189. DOI:10.1186/s12974-014-0189-0 · 4.90 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Compulsivity and impulsivity are cross-disorder traits observed in Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Aberrant fronto-striatal glutamatergic signaling is core to the understanding of compulsive and impulsive disorders. In this review, the glutamate (Glu) neurochemistry of fronto-striatal circuits in paediatric and adult ASD, ADHD and OCD, as described in 59 studies, is outlined from the perspective of proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy ((1)H MRS). Despite the methodological inconsistencies between studies, two observations stand out that form possible hypotheses for future studies. Firstly, a possible increase in Glx (combination of Glu, glutamine and GABA) in the striatum across ADHD, OCD and ASD. Secondly, an increased Glx signal in the anterior cingulate cortex in paediatric ASD and ADHD but a lower Glx signal in adult ASD and ADHD. This suggests neurodevelopmental changes in fronto-striatal glutamatergic circuits across the lifespan. Future studies should incorporate more homogeneous samples, perform MRS at field strengths of at least 3 Tesla and provide much more precise and standardized information on methods to improve our understanding of fronto-striatal glutamatergic transmission in compulsive and impulsive syndromes. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
    Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews 02/2015; 52. DOI:10.1016/j.neubiorev.2015.02.009 · 10.28 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are neurodevelopmental disorders characterized by impaired social interaction and communication, and restricted behavior and interests. A disruption in the balance of excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmission has been hypothesized to underlie these disorders. Here we demonstrate that genes of both pathways are affected by ASD, and that gene expression of inhibitory and excitatory genes is altered in the cerebral cortex of adult but not younger autistic individuals. We have developed a measure for the difference in the level of excitation and inhibition based on gene expression and observe that in this measure inhibition is decreased relative to excitation in adult ASD compared to control. This difference was undetectable in young autistic brains. Given that many psychiatric features of autism are already present at an early age, this suggests that the observed imbalance in gene expression is an aging phenomenon in ASD rather than its underlying cause.