The role of GABAergic neural circuits in the pathogenesis of autism spectrum disorder

Jing Di, Jian Li, Bruce O’Hara, Ian Alberts, Lei Xiong, Jijun Li, Xiaohong Li

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) comprises a heterogeneous range of neurodevelopmental conditions represented by symptoms including, communication and language deficits, repetitive, and restricted patterns of behavior and inadequate social interactions. Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is known to mediate I responses in the central nervous system by interacting with GABA signaling receptors. In this context, several recent investigations suggest that imbalances in the GABAergic neurotransmission system may be implicated in the development of ASD as well as several other neurodevelopmental disorders, including Fragile X syndrome (FXS) and Rett syndrome. This review initially expounds the functional role of the GABAergic system in the mature brain and during neurodevelopment. This will be followed by discussions concerning the impact of deficiencies in the system on ASD and the other above-mentioned neurodevelopment disorders. Finally, the connections between these deficiencies and behavioral features observed in the clinic will be considered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-85
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Developmental Neuroscience
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 81528023 and No.81671219).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 International Society for Development Neuroscience


  • Fragile X syndrome
  • GABA
  • I interneurons
  • Rett syndrome
  • autism spectrum disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Developmental Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'The role of GABAergic neural circuits in the pathogenesis of autism spectrum disorder'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this