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Publicado: 2024-04-30

GABA and Executive functions in ASD

National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Department of Secondary Education
N.C.S.R. Demokritos
GABA, executive functions, ASD, self – control, behavioral – control, attention – control


Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is a neurotransmitter critically involved in various psychological and behavioral processes. This review highlights the impact of GABAergic dysfunction within specific brain regions on a range of mental disorders, executive processes, self-control, and behavioral regulation.Reductions in GABAergic neurotransmission within distinct brain regions have been consistently associated with several mental health conditions. Within the context of anxiety disorders, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), alterations in GABAergic function contribute to symptomatology. GABA plays a pivotal role in anxiety and mood regulation, with its impairment linked to symptoms of depression and mood disorders. Dysfunctional GABAergic transmission also contributes to fear dysregulation and features of PTSD. In terms of executive functions, GABAergic neurotransmission affects working memory, attentional control, and inhibitory regulation. Changes in GABA levels have been linked to decision-making abilities, impulsivity, and attention deficits, especially in conditions like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). GABA further plays a crucial role in self-control mechanisms by regulating impulsivity and prefrontal cortex functionality. Substance use disorders, often accompanied by impaired self-control, are significantly influenced by GABAergic system changes. Additionally, GABA's involvement in anxiety and emotional management affects the control of emotional responses. Behavioral control is modulated by GABAergic action in motor circuitry, where GABA provides inhibitory control for motor actions. Spontaneity, aggression, and stress are influenced by GABAergic dysfunction, impacting behavioral control. In the realm of attentional control, GABAergic neurotransmission influences selective attention and sensory salience, maintaining a balance between neural stimulation and inhibition. The study also explores executive function deficits in individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in relation to GABA levels within specific brain regions. Moreover, GABA and its network connectivity contribute to individual variations in sensory responsiveness, emphasizing the dynamic role of GABA in the phenotypic heterogeneity of ASD. In summary, this research underscores the critical role of GABAergic neurotransmission within specific brain regions in various psychological disorders, executive functions, self-control, behavioral regulation, and attentional processes. Understanding the directional influence of GABAergic changes on behavior and mental health conditions can pave the way for more targeted interventions in neuropsychiatric disorders.


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Como Citar

Sideraki, A. ., & Drigas, A. (2024). GABA and Executive functions in ASD. Scientific Electronic Archives, 17(3).