Reduced neural synchronization of gamma-band MEG oscillations in first-degree relatives of children with autism

Rojas, Donald C.; Maharajh, Keeran; Teale, Peter; Rogers, Sally J.
January 2008
BMC Psychiatry;2008, Vol. 8, Special section p1
Academic Journal
Background: Gamma-band oscillations recorded from human electrophysiological recordings, which may be associated with perceptual binding and neuronal connectivity, have been shown to be altered in people with autism. Transient auditory gamma-band responses, however, have not yet been investigated in autism or in the first-degree relatives of persons with the autism. Methods: We measured transient evoked and induced magnetic gamma-band power and intertrial phase-locking consistency in the magnetoencephalographic recordings of 16 parents of children with autism, 11 adults with autism and 16 control participants. Source space projection was used to separate left and right hemisphere transient gamma-band measures of power and phase-locking. Results: Induced gamma-power at 40 Hz was significantly higher in the parent and autism groups than in controls, while evoked gamma-band power was reduced compared to controls. The phase-locking factor, a measure of phase consistency of neuronal responses with external stimuli, was significantly lower in the subjects with autism and the autism parent group, potentially explaining the difference between the evoked and induced power results. Conclusion: These findings, especially in first degree relatives, suggest that gamma-band phase consistency and changes in induced versus induced power may be potentially useful endophenotypes for autism, particularly given emerging molecular mechanisms concerning the generation of gamma-band signals.


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