Association of Choline Levels on the Severity of Social Anhedonia in Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Poster Presentation
Thursday, May 2, 2019: 5:30 PM-7:00 PM
Room: 710 (Palais des congres de Montreal)
M. Batra1, J. P. Giacomantonio2, H. Garman3, A. Mulhall4, R. A. Vogel5 and K. Gadow3, (1)College of Osteopathic Medicine, New York Institute of Technology, Glen Head, NY, (2)Stony Brook University, Stonybrook, NY, (3)Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY, (4)Psychiatry, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY, (5)Neurobiology and Behavior, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY
Background: High functioning adults with autism spectrum disorder (HFA) often experience social anhedonia and depression although their pathogenesis remains poorly understood. Recent studies show increased choline levels in the brains of adults with HFA, as well as in participants diagnosed with major depressive disorder (MDD; Murphy et al., 2002; Riley et al., 2018). Increased concentrations of choline in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) are reported to alter brain activity and connectivity between the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) and posterior cingulate cortex (PCC) in adults with ASD (Libero et al., 2015). Prior research has linked higher choline levels in the brain to increased depression and length of illness in adults with MDD (Riley et al, 2018; Portella et al., 2011).

Objectives: The aim of the present study was to examine the association of brain choline levels with severity of social anhedonia, depression and rumination symptoms among adults with HFA.

Methods: Participants were 16 adults (18-45 years) with ADOS-defined ASD; IQs (≥80). (1)H-MRS data was acquired with a 3T scanner for the metabolite choline, which was performed with one voxel (30×30×20 mm3) in the ACC using a TR/TE of 2000/68 ms with a spectral bandwidth of 2 kHz and 16 water reference lines. Prior to the scan, participants completed the Hamilton Depression Ration Scale, Social Anhedonia Scale – Revised, Kaufman Brief Intelligence Test Second Edition.

Results: After controlling for ASD severity there was a positive correlation found between choline levels and severity of social anhedonia (r= .548, p= .034), severity of depression (r= .621, p=.018), and rumination (r= .560, p= .037).

Conclusions: These findings provide a tentative support for the notion that brain choline levels may be associated with processes involved in the severity of social anhedonia, depression and rumination among HFA. Moving forward, additional studies with larger samples are necessary to fully understand this possibility.

See more of: Neuroimaging
See more of: Neuroimaging