Decreased interhemispheric functional connectivity in autism.

Department of Neuroradiology, University of Utah, 1A71 School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, UT 84132, USA.
Cerebral Cortex (Impact Factor: 8.31). 10/2010; 21(5):1134-46. DOI: 10.1093/cercor/bhq190
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The cortical underconnectivity theory asserts that reduced long-range functional connectivity might contribute to a neural mechanism for autism. We examined resting-state blood oxygen level-dependent interhemispheric correlation in 53 males with high-functioning autism and 39 typically developing males from late childhood through early adulthood. By constructing spatial maps of correlation between homologous voxels in each hemisphere, we found significantly reduced interhemispheric correlation specific to regions with functional relevance to autism: sensorimotor cortex, anterior insula, fusiform gyrus, superior temporal gyrus, and superior parietal lobule. Observed interhemispheric connectivity differences were better explained by diagnosis of autism than by potentially confounding neuropsychological metrics of language, IQ, or handedness. Although both corpus callosal volume and gray matter interhemispheric connectivity were significantly reduced in autism, no direct relationship was observed between them, suggesting that structural and functional metrics measure different aspects of interhemispheric connectivity. In the control but not the autism sample, there was decreasing interhemispheric correlation with subject age. Greater differences in interhemispheric correlation were seen for more lateral regions in the brain. These findings suggest that long-range connectivity abnormalities in autism are spatially heterogeneous and that transcallosal connectivity is decreased most in regions with functions associated with behavioral abnormalities in autism. Autism subjects continue to show developmental differences in interhemispheric connectivity into early adulthood.

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    NeuroImage: Clinical. 01/2013; 2:79-94.
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Systematic differences in functional connectivity MRI metrics have been consistently observed in autism, with predominantly decreased cortico-cortical connectivity. Previous attempts at single subject classification in high-functioning autism using whole brain point-to-point functional connectivity have yielded about 80% accurate classification of autism vs. control subjects across a wide age range. We attempted to replicate the method and results using the Autism Brain Imaging Data Exchange (ABIDE) including resting state fMRI data obtained from 964 subjects and 16 separate international sites. Methods: For each of 964 subjects, we obtained pairwise functional connectivity measurements from a lattice of 7266 regions of interest covering the gray matter (26.4 million "connections") after preprocessing that included motion and slice timing correction, coregistration to an anatomic image, normalization to standard space, and voxelwise removal by regression of motion parameters, soft tissue, CSF, and white matter signals. Connections were grouped into multiple bins, and a leave-one-out classifier was evaluated on connections comprising each set of bins. Age, age-squared, gender, handedness, and site were included as covariates for the classifier. Results: Classification accuracy significantly outperformed chance but was much lower for multisite prediction than for previous single site results. As high as 60% accuracy was obtained for whole brain classification, with the best accuracy from connections involving regions of the default mode network, parahippocampaland fusiform gyri, insula, Wernicke Area, and intraparietal sulcus. The classifier score was related to symptom severity, social function, daily living skills, and verbal IQ. Classification accuracy was significantly higher for sites with longer BOLD imaging times. Conclusions: Multisite functional connectivity classification of autism outperformed chance using a simple leave-one-out classifier, but exhibited poorer accuracy than for single site results. Attempts to use multisite classifiers will likely require improved classification algorithms, longer BOLD imaging times, and standardized acquisition parameters for possible future clinical utility.
    Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 01/2013; 7:599. · 2.91 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Structural and functional underconnectivity have been reported for multiple brain regions, functional systems, and white matter tracts in individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Although recent developments in complex network analysis have established that the brain is a modular network exhibiting small-world properties, network level organization has not been carefully examined in ASD. Here we used resting-state functional MRI (n = 42 ASD, n = 37 typically developing; TD) to show that children and adolescents with ASD display reduced short and long-range connectivity within functional systems (i.e., reduced functional integration) and stronger connectivity between functional systems (i.e., reduced functional segregation), particularly in default and higher-order visual regions. Using graph theoretical methods, we show that pairwise group differences in functional connectivity are reflected in network level reductions in modularity and clustering (local efficiency), but shorter characteristic path lengths (higher global efficiency). Structural networks, generated from diffusion tensor MRI derived fiber tracts (n = 51 ASD, n = 43 TD), displayed lower levels of white matter integrity yet higher numbers of fibers. TD and ASD individuals exhibited similar levels of correlation between raw measures of structural and functional connectivity (n = 35 ASD, n = 35 TD). However, a principal component analysis combining structural and functional network properties revealed that the balance of local and global efficiency between structural and functional networks was reduced in ASD, positively correlated with age, and inversely correlated with ASD symptom severity. Overall, our findings suggest that modeling the brain as a complex network will be highly informative in unraveling the biological basis of ASD and other neuropsychiatric disorders.
    NeuroImage : clinical. 01/2012; 2:79-94.


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Jul 24, 2014