Neurotransmetteur GABA et hypersensibilité tactile chez les adultes avec autisme ({Tactile hypersensitivity and GABA concentration in the sensorimotor cortex of adults with autism)

vendredi 11 janvier 2019

La revue Autism Research publie en janvier 2019 une étude de L.A Sapey-Triomphe, F. Lamberton, S.Sonié, J. Mattout, et C.Schmitz sur le neurotransmetteur GABA et l’hypersensibilité tactile chez les adultes avec autisme.

1. Sapey-Triomphe LA, Lamberton F, Sonie S, Mattout J, Schmitz C. Tactile hypersensitivity and GABA concentration in the sensorimotor cortex of adults with autism. Autism Res. 2019.

Sensory hypersensitivity is frequently encountered in autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) has been hypothesized to play a role in tactile hypersensitivity. The aim of the present study was twofold. First, as a study showed that children with ASD have decreased GABA concentrations in the sensorimotor cortex, we aimed at determining whether the GABA reduction remained in adults with ASD. For this purpose, we used magnetic resonance spectroscopy to measure GABA concentration in the sensorimotor cortex of neurotypical adults (n = 19) and ASD adults (n = 18). Second, we aimed at characterizing correlations between GABA concentration and tactile hypersensitivity in ASD. GABA concentration in the sensorimotor cortex of adults with ASD was lower than in neurotypical adults (decrease by 17%). Interestingly, GABA concentrations were positively correlated with self-reported tactile hypersensitivity in adults with ASD (r = 0.50, P = 0.01), but not in neurotypical adults. In addition, GABA concentrations were negatively correlated with the intra-individual variation during threshold measurement, both in neurotypical adults (r = -0.47, P = 0.04) and in adults with ASD (r = -0.59, P = 0.01). In other words, in both groups, the higher the GABA level, the more precise the tactile sensation. These results highlight the key role of GABA in tactile sensitivity, and suggest that atypical GABA modulation contributes to tactile hypersensitivity in ASD. We discuss the hypothesis that hypersensitivity in ASD could be due to suboptimal predictions about sensations. Autism Research 2019. (c) 2019 International Society for Autism Research, Wiley Periodicals, Inc. LAY SUMMARY : People with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often experience tactile hypersensitivity. Here, our goal was to highlight a link between tactile hypersensitivity and the concentration of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) (an inhibitory neurotransmitter) in the brain of adults with ASD. Indeed, self-reported hypersensitivity correlated with reduced GABA levels in brain areas processing touch. Our study suggests that this neurotransmitter may play a key role in tactile hypersensitivity in autism.

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