Bumetanide for autism: more eye contact, less amygdala activation

Hadjikhani, N., Åsberg Johnels, J., Lassalle, A., Zürcher, N. R., Hippolyte, L., Gillberg, C. , Lemonnier, E. and Ben-Ari, Y. (2018) Bumetanide for autism: more eye contact, less amygdala activation. Scientific Reports, 8, 3602. (doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-21958-x) (PMID:29483603) (PMCID:PMC5827728)

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Abstract

We recently showed that constraining eye contact leads to exaggerated increase of amygdala activation in autism. Here, in a proof of concept pilot study, we demonstrate that administration of bumetanide (a NKCC1 chloride importer antagonist that restores GABAergic inhibition) normalizes the level of amygdala activation during constrained eye contact with dynamic emotional face stimuli in autism. In addition, eye-tracking data reveal that bumetanide administration increases the time spent in spontaneous eye gaze during in a free-viewing mode of the same face stimuli. In keeping with clinical trials, our data support the Excitatory/Inhibitory dysfunction hypothesis in autism, and indicate that bumetanide may improve specific aspects of social processing in autism. Future double-blind placebo controlled studies with larger cohorts of participants will help clarify the mechanisms of bumetanide action in autism.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This work was supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation (PP00P3-130191 to NH), the Centre d’Imagerie BioMédicale (CIBM) of the University of Lausanne (UNIL), as well as the Foundation Rossi Di Montalera, the LifeWatch Foundation, and the Ahlquist Foundation.
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Gillberg, Professor Christopher
Authors: Hadjikhani, N., Åsberg Johnels, J., Lassalle, A., Zürcher, N. R., Hippolyte, L., Gillberg, C., Lemonnier, E., and Ben-Ari, Y.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > Mental Health and Wellbeing
Journal Name:Scientific Reports
Publisher:Nature Research
ISSN:2045-2322
ISSN (Online):2045-2322
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2018 The Authors
First Published:First published in Scientific Reports 8:3602
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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