Glutamate/GABA+ ratio is associated with the psychosocial domain of autistic and schizotypal traits

Ford, Talitha C., Nibbs, Richard and Crewther, David P. 2017, Glutamate/GABA+ ratio is associated with the psychosocial domain of autistic and schizotypal traits, PLoS One, vol. 12, no. 7, pp. 1-14, doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0181961.

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Title Glutamate/GABA+ ratio is associated with the psychosocial domain of autistic and schizotypal traits
Author(s) Ford, Talitha C.ORCID iD for Ford, Talitha C.
Nibbs, Richard
Crewther, David P.
Journal name PLoS One
Volume number 12
Issue number 7
Article ID e0181961
Start page 1
End page 14
Total pages 14
Publisher Public Library of Science
Place of publication San Francisco, Calif.
Publication date 2017-07
ISSN 1932-6203
Keyword(s) Science & Technology
Multidisciplinary Sciences
Science & Technology - Other Topics
Summary BACKGROUND: The autism and schizophrenia spectra overlap to a large degree in the social and interpersonal domains. Similarly, abnormal excitatory glutamate and inhibitory γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) neurotransmitter concentrations have been reported for both spectra, with the interplay of these neurotransmitters important for cortical excitation to inhibition regulation. This study investigates whether these neurotransmitter abnormalities are specific to the shared symptomatology, and whether the degree of abnormality increases with increasing symptom severity. Hence, the relationship between the glutamate/GABA ratio and autism and schizophrenia spectrum traits in an unmedicated, subclinical population was investigated. METHODS: A total of 37 adults (19 female, 18 male) aged 18-38 years completed the Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ) and Schizotypal Personality Questionnaire (SPQ), and participated in the resting state proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy study in which sequences specific for quantification of glutamate and GABA+ concentration were applied to a right and left superior temporal voxel. RESULTS: There were significant, moderate, positive relationships between right superior temporal glutamate/GABA+ ratio and AQ, SPQ and AQ+SPQ total scores (p<0.05), SPQ subscales Social Anxiety, No Close Friend, Constricted Affect, Odd Behaviour, Odd Speech, Ideas of Reference and Suspiciousness, and AQ subscales Social Skills, Communication and Attention Switching (p<0.05); increased glutamate/GABA+ coinciding with higher scores on these subscales. Only the relationships between glutamate/GABA+ ratio and Social Anxiety, Constricted Affect, Social Skills and Communication survived multiple comparison correction (p< 0.004). Left superior temporal glutamate/GABA+ ratio reduced with increasing restricted imagination (p<0.05). CONCLUSION: These findings demonstrate evidence for an association between excitatory/inhibitory neurotransmitter concentrations and symptoms that are shared between the autism and schizophrenia spectra.
Language eng
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0181961
Indigenous content off
Field of Research MD Multidisciplinary
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2017, Ford et al.
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Document type: Journal Article
Collections: Faculty of Health
School of Psychology
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