The amygdala and related structures in the pathophysiology of autism

Thayne L. Sweeten, David J. Posey, Anantha Shekhar, Christopher J. McDougle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

75 Scopus citations


Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder that is defined behaviorally by severe deficiencies in reciprocal social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication, and restricted interests. The amygdala is involved in the regulation of social behaviors and may be an important site of pathology for the social dysfunction seen in autism. This review focuses on lesion, postmortem, and neuroimaging studies that investigate the amygdala and related structures in this disorder. Other brain regions potentially involved in the neuropathology of autism are also briefly discussed. Although supportive evidence exists for amygdala dysfunction in autism, the currently available data are inconsistent and additional research is needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)449-455
Number of pages7
JournalPharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 12 2002


  • Amygdala
  • Autism
  • Neurodevelopment
  • Social behaviors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Pharmacology

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