The auditory steady-state response (ASSR): A translational biomarker for schizophrenia

Brian F. O'Donnell, Jenifer L. Vohs, Giri P. Krishnan, Olga Rass, William P. Hetrick, Sandra L. Morzorati

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

51 Scopus citations


Electrophysiological methods have demonstrated disturbances of neural synchrony and oscillations in schizophrenia which affect a broad range of sensory and cognitive processes. These disturbances may account for a loss of neural integration and effective connectivity in the disorder. The mechanisms responsible for alterations in synchrony are not well delineated, but may reflect disturbed interactions within GABAergic and glutamatergic circuits, particularly in the gamma range. Auditory steady-state responses (ASSRs) provide a non-invasive technique used to assess neural synchrony in schizophrenia and in animal models at specific response frequencies. ASSRs are electrophysiological responses entrained to the frequency and phase of a periodic auditory stimulus generated by auditory pathway and auditory cortex activity. Patients with schizophrenia show reduced ASSR power and phase locking to gamma range stimulation. We review alterations of ASSRs in schizophrenia, schizotypal personality disorder, and first-degree relatives of patients with schizophrenia. In vitro and in vivo approaches have been used to test cellular mechanisms for this pattern of findings. This translational, cross-species approach provides support for the role of N-methyl-D-aspartate and GABAergic dysregulation in the genesis of perturbed ASSRs in schizophrenia and persons at risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSupplements to Clinical Neurophysiology
PublisherElsevier B.V.
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)9780702053078
StatePublished - 2013

Publication series

NameSupplements to Clinical Neurophysiology
ISSN (Print)1567-424X


  • Auditory steady-state response
  • Schizophrenia
  • Schizotypal personality disorder
  • Translational biomarker

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Neurology

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    O'Donnell, B. F., Vohs, J. L., Krishnan, G. P., Rass, O., Hetrick, W. P., & Morzorati, S. L. (2013). The auditory steady-state response (ASSR): A translational biomarker for schizophrenia. In Supplements to Clinical Neurophysiology (pp. 101-112). (Supplements to Clinical Neurophysiology; Vol. 62). Elsevier B.V..