In vivo 1H-magnetic resonance spectroscopy study of the attentional networks in autism

Silvia Bernardi, Evdokia Anagnostou, Jun Shen, Alexander Kolevzon, Joseph D. Buxbaum, Eric Hollander, Patrick R. Hof, Jin Fan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

70 Scopus citations


Attentional dysfunction is one of the most consistent findings in individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). However, the significance of such findings for the pathophysiology of autism is unclear. In this study, we investigated cellular neurochemistry with proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy imaging (1H-MRS) in brain regions associated with networks subserving alerting, orienting, and executive control of attention in patients with ASD. Concentrations of cerebral N-acetyl-aspartate (NAA), creatinine + phosphocreatinine, choline-containing compounds, myo-inositol (Ins) and glutamate + glutamine (Glx) were determined by 3 T 1H-MRS examinations in 14 high-functioning medication-free adults with a diagnosis of ASD and 14 age- and IQ-matched healthy controls (HC) in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), thalamus, temporoparietal junction (TPJ), and areas near or along the intraparietal sulcus (IPS). Compared to HC group, the ASD group showed significantly lower Glx concentration in right ACC and reduced Ins concentration in left TPJ. This study provides evidence of abnormalities in neurotransmission related to networks subserving executive control and alerting of attention, functions which have been previously implicated in ASD pathogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)198-205
Number of pages8
JournalBrain research
StatePublished - Mar 22 2011


  • Anterior cingulate cortex
  • Autism
  • Glutamate
  • Myo-inositol
  • Spectroscopy
  • Temporoparietal junction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology

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    Bernardi, S., Anagnostou, E., Shen, J., Kolevzon, A., Buxbaum, J. D., Hollander, E., Hof, P. R., & Fan, J. (2011). In vivo 1H-magnetic resonance spectroscopy study of the attentional networks in autism. Brain research, 1380, 198-205.