Downregulation of GABAA receptor protein subunits α6, β2, δ, ε, γ2, θ, and ρ2 in superior frontal cortex of subjects with autism

J Autism Dev Disord. 2014 Aug;44(8):1833-45. doi: 10.1007/s10803-014-2078-x.


We measured protein and mRNA levels for nine gamma-aminobutyric acid A (GABAA) receptor subunits in three brain regions (cerebellum, superior frontal cortex, and parietal cortex) in subjects with autism versus matched controls. We observed changes in mRNA for a number of GABAA and GABAB subunits and overall reduced protein expression for GABAA receptor alpha 6 (GABRα6), GABAA receptor beta 2 (GABRβ2), GABAA receptor delta (GABRδ), GABAA receptor epsilon (GABRε), GABAA receptor gamma 2 (GABRγ2), GABAA receptor theta (GABRθ), and GABAA receptor rho 2 (GABRρ2) in superior frontal cortex from subjects with autism. Our data demonstrate systematic changes in GABAA&B subunit expression in brains of subjects with autism, which may help explain the presence of cognitive abnormalities in subjects with autism.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Autistic Disorder / genetics
  • Autistic Disorder / metabolism*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cerebellum / metabolism
  • Down-Regulation*
  • Female
  • Frontal Lobe / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parietal Lobe / metabolism
  • Protein Subunits / genetics
  • Protein Subunits / metabolism
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Receptors, GABA-A / genetics*
  • Receptors, GABA-A / metabolism
  • Young Adult
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / metabolism


  • Protein Subunits
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptors, GABA-A
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid