Amygdala and hippocampus enlargement during adolescence in autism.
ABSTRACT The amygdala and hippocampus are key components of the neural system mediating emotion perception and regulation and are thought to be involved in the pathophysiology of autism. Although some studies in children with autism suggest that there is an enlargement of amygdala and hippocampal volume, findings in adolescence are sparse.
We measured amygdala and hippocampus volume in a homogeneous group of adolescents with autism (12 through 18 years; n = 23) and compared them with an age-, sex-, and IQ-matched control group (n = 29) using a validated automated segmentation procedure in 1.5-T magnetic resonance images. All analyses were adjusted for total brain volume.
Repeated-measures analysis revealed a significant group x hemisphere x brain structure interaction (p = .038), even when corrected for total brain volume. Post-hoc analysis showed that the right amygdala and left hippocampus were significantly enlarged (p = .010; p = .015) in the autism compared with the control group. There were no significant correlations between age and amygdala or hippocampus volume.
The abnormal enlargement of the amygdala and hippocampus in adolescents with autism adds to previous findings of enlargement of these structures in children with autism. This may reflect increased activity of these structures and thereby altered emotion perception and regulation. Our results could therefore be interpreted in light of developmental adaptation of the autistic brain to a continuous overflow of emotional learning experiences.
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ABSTRACT: Children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are at increased risk for developing depression. The neurobiological substrates that convey this risk remain poorly understood. On the basis of considerable data implicating hippocampal abnormalities in depressive disorders, we aimed to explore the relationship between the hippocampus and levels of depressive symptomatology in ADHD. We used structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to examine the functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to assess the resting state functional connectivity (rs-fcMRI) of the hippocampus in a sample of 32 medication-naive children with ADHD (ages 6–13) and 33 age- and sex-matched healthy control (HC) participants. Compared with the HC participants, the participants with ADHD had (i) reduced volumes of the left hippocampus and (ii) reduced functional connectivity (rs-fcMRI) between the left hippocampus and the left orbitofrontal cortex (OFC); these hippocampal effects were associated with more severe depressive symptoms, even after controlling for the severity of inattentive and hyperactive/impulsive symptoms. Altered hippocampal structure and connectivity were not associated with anxiety or more general internalizing symptoms. Though preliminary, these findings suggest that the relationship between hippocampal anomalies and ADHD youth’s susceptibility to developing depression and other mood disorders may merit further investigation with follow-up longitudinal research.Psychiatry Research Neuroimaging 08/2014; 224(2). DOI:10.1016/j.pscychresns.2014.08.006 · 2.83 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: In an effort to better understand and treat mental disorders, the Wnt pathway and adult hippocampal neurogenesis have received increased attention in recent years. One is a signaling pathway regulating key aspects of embryonic patterning, cell specification, and adult tissue homeostasis. The other is the generation of newborn neurons in adulthood that integrate into the neural circuit and function in learning and memory, and mood behavior. In this review, we discuss the growing relationship between Wnt signaling-mediated regulation of adult hippocampal neurogenesis as it applies to neuropsychiatric disorders. Evidence suggests dysfunctional Wnt signaling may aberrantly regulate new neuron development and cognitive function. Indeed, altered expression of key Wnt pathway components are observed in the hippocampus of patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders. Clinically-utilized mood stabilizers also proceed through modulation of Wnt signaling in the hippocampus, while Wnt pathway antagonists can regulate the antidepressant response. Here, we review the role of Wnt signaling in disease etiology and pathogenesis, regulation of adult neurogenesis and behavior, and the therapeutic targeting of disease symptoms.Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews 09/2014; 47. DOI:10.1016/j.neubiorev.2014.09.005 · 10.28 Impact Factor
Article: Anatomical Abnormalities in Autism?[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Substantial controversy exists regarding the presence and significance of anatomical abnormalities in autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The release of the Autism Brain Imaging Data Exchange (∼1000 participants, age 6-65 years) offers an unprecedented opportunity to conduct large-scale comparisons of anatomical MRI scans across groups and to resolve many of the outstanding questions. Comprehensive univariate analyses using volumetric, thickness, and surface area measures of over 180 anatomically defined brain areas, revealed significantly larger ventricular volumes, smaller corpus callosum volume (central segment only), and several cortical areas with increased thickness in the ASD group. Previously reported anatomical abnormalities in ASD including larger intracranial volumes, smaller cerebellar volumes, and larger amygdala volumes were not substantiated by the current study. In addition, multivariate classification analyses yielded modest decoding accuracies of individuals' group identity (<60%), suggesting that the examined anatomical measures are of limited diagnostic utility for ASD. While anatomical abnormalities may be present in distinct subgroups of ASD individuals, the current findings show that many previously reported anatomical measures are likely to be of low clinical and scientific significance for understanding ASD neuropathology as a whole in individuals 6-35 years old.Cerebral Cortex 10/2014; DOI:10.1093/cercor/bhu242 · 8.31 Impact Factor