What is the role of N-acetylaspartate (NAA) in the pathophysiology of autism spectrum disorder (ASD)?

Updated: Sep 30, 2019
  • Author: James Robert Brasic, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Caroly Pataki, MD  more...
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Answer

Diminished neuronal activity indicated by reductions of NAA in frontal, parietal, and temporal lobes, amygdala, hippocampus, and thalamus of children with ASD was observed on MRS. [36, 43] MRS also showed diminished concentrations of creatine (Cr) and phosphocreatine (PCr) in the cortex and the white matter of people with ASD, suggesting reduced cellular oxidative metabolism. [44, 36] Diminished neuronal metabolsm in the anterior white matter of boys with ASD in contrast to age-matched controls was indicated by the reduced NAA/Cr ratios on MRS. [45, 36]


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