Article

Identification of risk factors for autism spectrum disorders in tuberous sclerosis complex

Department of Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, USA.
Neurology (Impact Factor: 8.3). 03/2011; 76(11):981-7. DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0b013e3182104347
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The purpose of this study was to assess the prevalence of and to identify epidemiologic, genetic, electrophysiologic, and neuroanatomic risk factors for autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in a cohort of patients with tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC).
A total of 103 patients with TSC were evaluated for ASD. A retrospective review of patients' records was performed, including mutational analysis. EEG reports were analyzed for the presence of ictal and interictal epileptiform features. Brain MRI scans were evaluated for TSC neuropathology, including tuber burden.
Of the 103 patients with TSC, 40%were diagnosed with an ASD. On univariate analysis, patients with ASD were less likely to have mutations in the TSC1 gene. Patients with ASD also had an earlier age at seizure onset and more frequent seizures. On EEG, those with ASD had a significantly greater amount of interictal epileptiform features in the left temporal lobe only. On MRI, there were no differences in the regional distribution of tuber burden, although those with TSC2 and ASD had a higher prevalence of cyst-like tubers.
The development of ASD in TSC is not well understood. Given our findings, ASD may be associated with persistent seizure activity early in development in particular brain regions, such as those responsible for social perception and communication in the left temporal lobe. The presence of cyst-like tubers on MRI could provide a structural basis or marker for ASD pathology in TSC, although studies assessing their effect on cortical function are needed.

Download full-text

Full-text

Available from: Elizabeth A Thiele, Jun 30, 2015
0 Followers
 · 
97 Views
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The electrophysiological correlates of cognitive deficits in tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) are not well understood, and modulations of neural dynamics by neuroanatomical abnormalities that characterize the disorder remain elusive. Neural oscillations (rhythms) are a fundamental aspect of brain function, and have dominant frequencies in a wide frequency range. The spatio-temporal dynamics of these frequencies in TSC are currently unknown. Using a novel signal decomposition approach this study investigated dominant cortical frequencies in 10 infants with TSC, in the age range 18-30 months, and 12 age-matched healthy controls. Distinct spectral characteristics were estimated in the two groups. High-frequency [in the high-gamma (>50 Hz) and ripple (>80 Hz) ranges], non-random EEG components were identified in both TSC and healthy infants at 18 months. Additional components in the lower gamma (30-50 Hz) ranges were also identified, with higher characteristic frequencies in TSC than in controls. Lower frequencies were statistically identical in both sub-groups. A significant shift in the high-frequency spectral content of the EEG was observed as a function of age, independently of task performance, possibly reflecting an overall maturation of developing neural circuits. This shift occurred earlier in healthy infants than in TSC, i.e., by age 20 months the highest dominant frequencies were in the high gamma range, whereas in TSC dominant frequencies above 100 Hz were still measurable. At age 28-30 months a statistically significant decrease in dominant high frequencies was observed in both TSC and healthy infants, possibly reflecting increased myelination and neuronal connection strengthening with age. Although based on small samples, and thus preliminary, the findings in this study suggest that dominant cortical rhythms, a fundamental aspect of neurodynamics, may be affected in TSC, possibly leading to impaired information processing in the brain.
    Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 07/2013; 45(2). DOI:10.1007/s10803-013-1887-7 · 3.06 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between language pathways and autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) in patients with tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC). An advanced diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was performed on 42 patients with TSC and 42 age-matched controls. Using a validated automatic method, white matter language pathways were identified and microstructural characteristics were extracted, including fractional anisotropy (FA) and mean diffusivity (MD). Among 42 patients with TSC, 12 had ASD (29%). After controlling for age, TSC patients without ASD had a lower FA than controls in the arcuate fasciculus (AF); TSC patients with ASD had even a smaller FA, lower than the FA for those without ASD. Similarly, TSC patients without ASD had a greater MD than controls in the AF; TSC patients with ASD had even a higher MD, greater than the MD in those without ASD. It remains unclear why some patients with TSC develop ASD, while others have better language and socio-behavioral outcomes. Our results suggest that language pathway microstructure may serve as a marker of the risk of ASD in TSC patients. Impaired microstructure in language pathways of TSC patients may indicate the development of ASD, although prospective studies of language pathway development and ASD diagnosis in TSC remain essential.
    Cerebral Cortex 06/2012; DOI:10.1093/cercor/bhs135 · 8.31 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a common neurodevelopmental disorder affecting approximately 1% of children. ASD is defined by core symptoms in two domains: negative symptoms of impairment in social and communication function, and positive symptoms of restricted and repetitive behaviors. Available treatments are inadequate for treating both core symptoms and associated conditions. Twin studies indicate that ASD susceptibility has a large heritable component. Genetic studies have identified promising leads, with converging insights emerging from single-gene disorders that bear ASD features, with particular interest in mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR)-linked synaptic plasticity mechanisms. Mouse models of these disorders are revealing not only opportunities to model behavioral perturbations across species, but also evidence of postnatal rescue of brain and behavioral phenotypes. An intense search for ASD biomarkers has consistently pointed to elevated platelet serotonin (5-HT) levels and a surge in brain growth in the first 2 years of life. Following a review of the diversity of ASD phenotypes and its genetic origins and biomarkers, we discuss opportunities for translation of these findings into novel ASD treatments, focusing on mTor- and 5-HT-signaling pathways, and their possible intersection. Paralleling the progress made in understanding the root causes of rare genetic syndromes that affect cognitive development, we anticipate progress in models systems using bona fide ASD-associated molecular changes that have the potential to accelerate the development of ASD diagnostics and therapeutics.
    Neuropsychopharmacology: official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology 09/2011; 37(1):196-212. DOI:10.1038/npp.2011.185 · 7.83 Impact Factor