Cortical Serotonin 5-HT2A Receptor Binding and Social Communication in Adults With Asperger's Syndrome: An in Vivo SPECT Study

Am J Psychiatry. 2006 May;163(5):934-6. doi: 10.1176/ajp.2006.163.5.934.

Abstract

Objective: The cause of autistic spectrum disorder (i.e., autism and Asperger's syndrome) is unknown. The serotonergic (5-HT) system may be especially implicated. However, cortical 5-HT2A receptor density in adults with the disorder has not been examined, to the authors' knowledge.

Method: The authors investigated cortical 5-HT2A receptor binding in eight adults with Asperger's syndrome and in 10 healthy comparison subjects with single photon emission computed tomography and the selective 5-HT2A receptor ligand 123I iodinated 4-amino-N-[1-[3-(4-fluorophenoxy)propyl]-4-methyl-4-piperidinyl]-5-iodo-2-methoxybenzamide (123I-5-I-R91150).

Results: People with Asperger's syndrome had a significant reduction in cortical 5-HT2A receptor binding in the total, anterior, and posterior cingulate; bilaterally in the frontal and superior temporal lobes; and in the left parietal lobe. Also, reduced receptor binding was significantly related to abnormal social communication.

Conclusions: The authors' findings suggest that adults with Asperger's syndrome have abnormalities in cortical 5-HT2A receptor density and that this deficit may underlie some clinical symptoms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Asperger Syndrome / diagnostic imaging
  • Asperger Syndrome / metabolism*
  • Asperger Syndrome / psychology
  • Cerebral Cortex / diagnostic imaging
  • Cerebral Cortex / metabolism*
  • Communication
  • Functional Laterality
  • Gyrus Cinguli / diagnostic imaging
  • Gyrus Cinguli / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Iodine Radioisotopes
  • Male
  • Parietal Lobe / diagnostic imaging
  • Parietal Lobe / metabolism
  • Piperidines
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Receptor, Serotonin, 5-HT2A / metabolism*
  • Social Behavior
  • Temporal Lobe / diagnostic imaging
  • Temporal Lobe / metabolism
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon*

Substances

  • Iodine Radioisotopes
  • Piperidines
  • R 91150
  • Receptor, Serotonin, 5-HT2A