Proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy imaging of the brain in childhood autism

ArticleinBiological Psychiatry 54(12):1355-66 · January 2004with2 Reads
Impact Factor: 10.26 · DOI: 10.1016/S0006-3223(03)00688-7 · Source: PubMed


    Autism is a developmental disorder of unknown neurologic basis. Based on prior work, we used proton magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging ((1)H- MRSI) to investigate brain structures, including cingulate and caudate, that we hypothesized would reveal metabolic abnormalities in subjects with autism.
    In 22 children with autism, 5 to 16 years old, and 20 age-matched healthy control subjects, (1)H-MRSI assessed levels of N-acetyl compounds (NAA), choline compounds (Cho), and creatine plus phosphocreatine (Cr) at 272 msec echo-time and 1.5 T.
    In subjects with autism compared with control subjects, Cho was 27.2% lower in left inferior anterior cingulate and 19.1% higher in the head of the right caudate nucleus; Cr was 21.1% higher in the head of the right caudate nucleus, but lower in the body of the left caudate nucleus (17.9%) and right occipital cortex (16.6%).
    Results are consistent with altered membrane metabolism, altered energetic metabolism, or both in the left anterior cingulate gyrus, both caudate nuclei, and right occipital cortex in subjects with autism compared with control subjects.