Glutathione and GABA Levels Appear Normal in Kids with Autism

October 23, 2023

Authors Note that Studying GSH and GABA Levels for ASD Subgroups Could Be Warranted

Researchers from the Kennedy Krieger Institute recently set out to investigate the levels of cerebral glutathione (GSH) and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in children with autism using edited spectroscopy. Altered neurometabolite levels, including GSH and GABA, have been proposed as potential contributors to the development of autism spectrum disorder. Interestingly, the authors found no significant differences in GSH or GABA concentrations in any of the four studied brain regions, which is consistent with previous studies. Additionally, even though previous research has proposed a link between oxidative stress and autism, with GSH being a crucial antioxidant in the brain, the lack of apparent GSH differences suggests that alterations in cerebral GSH metabolism may not be a prominent factor in the pathophysiology of autism. The current study also found no significant GABA differences between children with autism and typically developing children. While it is somewhat surprising that no group differences in metabolite concentrations were found, either for GABA or for GSH, the authors note that autism is a highly heterogeneous condition, and subgroup approaches may be better suited to determine whether there are indeed individuals with specific neurometabolic differences.

Original Study

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