Abnormal cell patterning at the cortical gray-white matter boundary in autism spectrum disorders.
ABSTRACT Previous research on neuronal spacing and columnar organization indicates the presence of cell patterning alterations within the cerebral cortex of individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). These patterning abnormalities include irregularities at the gray-white matter boundary and may implicate early neurodevelopmental events such as migration in altering cortical organization in ASD. The present study utilized a novel method to quantify the gray-white matter boundary in eight ASD and eight typically developing control subjects. Digital photomicrographs of the gray-white matter boundary were acquired from multiple positions within the superior temporal gyrus (BA21), dorsolateral frontal lobe (BA9), and dorsal parietal lobe (BA7) of each case. A sigmoid curve was fitted to the transition zone between layer VI and underlying white matter (subplate), and the slope of the resulting curve was used as a measure of the spatial extent of the transition zone. For all three cortical regions examined, ASD subjects showed "shallower" sigmoid curves compared to neurotypicals, indicating the presence of an indistinct boundary between cortical layer VI and the underlying white matter. These results may reflect the presence of supernumerary neurons beneath the cortical plate that could be the result of migration deficits or failed apoptosis in the subplate region. Furthermore, these findings raise questions regarding the validity of cortical measures that rely on gray-white matter parcellation, since an indistinct transition zone could lead to a misplaced cortical boundary and errors in both thickness and volume measures.
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ABSTRACT: Increased levels of end-tidal carbon monoxide (ETCOc) in preterm infants during the first day of life are associated with oxidative stress, inflammatory processes and adverse neurodevelopmental outcome at 2 years of age. Therefore, we hypothesized that early ETCOc levels may also be associated with impaired growth of unmyelinated cerebral white matter. From a cohort of 156 extremely and very preterm infants in which ETCOc was determined within 24 h after birth, in 36 infants 3D-MRI was performed at term-equivalent age to assess cerebral tissue volumes of important brain regions. Linear regression analysis between cerebral ventricular volume, unmyelinated white matter/total brain volume-, and cortical grey matter/total brain volume-ratio and ETCOc showed a positive, negative and positive correlation, respectively. Multivariable analyses showed that solely ETCOc was positively related to cerebral ventricular volume and cortical grey matter/total brain volume ratio, and that solely ETCOc was inversely related to the unmyelinated white matter/total brain volume ratio, suggesting that increased levels of ETCOc, associated with oxidative stress and inflammation, were related with impaired growth of unmyelinated white matter. Increased values of ETCOc, measured within the first 24 hours of life may be indicative of oxidative stress and inflammation in the immediate perinatal period, resulting in impaired growth of the vulnerable unmyelinated white matter of the preterm brain.PLoS ONE 03/2014; 9(3):e89061. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The considerable heterogeneity in the number and severity of symptoms observed in autism spectrum disorders (ASD) has been regarded as an obstacle to any future research. Some authors believe that clinical heterogeneity results from the complex interplay of the many genetic and environmental factors that themselves define a condition as multifactorial. However, it is important to note that neuropathological findings in both idiopathic and syndromic autism suggests a single pathophysiological mechanism acting during brain development: the heterochronic division of germinal cells and subsequent migrational abnormalities of daughter cells to their target fields. Multiple exogenous (e.g., viruses, drugs) and endogenous (e.g., genetic mutations) factors are known to disrupt the division of germinal cells and provide for an autism phenotype. The variety of endogenous and exogenous factors, their timing of action during brain development, and the genetic susceptibility of affected individuals (a Triple Hit hypothesis) may all account for the clinical heterogeneity of ASD.Medical Hypotheses 04/2014; · 1.15 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are characterized by impairments in social communication and restrictive, repetitive behaviors. While behavioral symptoms are well-documented, investigations into the neurobiological underpinnings of ASD have not resulted in firm biomarkers. Variability in findings across structural neuroimaging studies has contributed to difficulty in reliably characterizing the brain morphology of individuals with ASD. These inconsistencies may also arise from the heterogeneity of ASD, and wider age-range of participants included in MRI studies and in previous meta-analyses. To address this, the current study used coordinate-based anatomical likelihood estimation (ALE) analysis of 21 voxel-based morphometry (VBM) studies examining high-functioning individuals with ASD, resulting in a meta-analysis of 1055 participants (506 ASD, and 549 typically developing individuals). Results consisted of grey, white, and global differences in cortical matter between the groups. Modeled anatomical maps consisting of concentration, thickness, and volume metrics of grey and white matter revealed clusters suggesting age-related decreases in grey and white matter in parietal and inferior temporal regions of the brain in ASD, and age-related increases in grey matter in frontal and anterior-temporal regions. White matter alterations included fiber tracts thought to play key roles in information processing and sensory integration. Many current theories of pathobiology ASD suggest that the brains of individuals with ASD may have less-functional long-range (anterior-to-posterior) connections. Our findings of decreased cortical matter in parietal–temporal and occipital regions, and thickening in frontal cortices in older adults with ASD may entail altered cortical anatomy, and neurodevelopmental adaptations.NeuroImage: Clinical. 11/2014;