Grey matter abnormality in autism spectrum disorder: an activation likelihood estimation meta-analysis study. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry

CCS fMRI, Koelliker Hospital, Turin, Italy.
Journal of neurology, neurosurgery, and psychiatry (Impact Factor: 5.58). 06/2011; 82(12):1304-13. DOI: 10.1136/jnnp.2010.239111
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is defined on a clinical basis by impairments in social interaction, verbal and non-verbal communication, and repetitive or stereotyped behaviours. Voxel based morphometry (VBM), a technique that gives a probabilistic measure of local grey matter (GM) and white matter concentration, has been used to study ASD patients: modifications in GM volume have been found in various brain regions, such as the corpus callosum, brainstem, amygdala, hippocampus and cerebellum. However, the findings are inconsistent with respect to the specific localisation and direction of GM modifications, and no paper has attempted to statistically summarise the results available in the literature.
The present study is a quantitative meta-analysis of the current VBM findings aimed at delineating the cortical regions with consistently increased or reduced GM concentrations. The activation likelihood estimation (ALE) was used, which is a quantitative voxel based meta-analysis method which can be used to estimate consistent activations across different imaging studies. Co-occurrence statistics of a PubMed query were generated, employing 'autism spectrum disorder' as the neuroanatomical lexicon.
Significant ALE values related to GM increases were observed bilaterally in the cerebellum, in the middle temporal gyrus, in the right anterior cingulate cortex, caudate head, insula, fusiform gyrus, precuneus and posterior cingulate cortex, and in the left lingual gyrus. GM decreases were observed bilaterally in the cerebellar tonsil and inferior parietal lobule, in the right amygdala, insula, middle temporal gyrus, caudate tail and precuneus and in the left precentral gyrus.

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Available from: Franco Cauda, Aug 28, 2015
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    • "Another ALE study reported increased cerebellar, middle temporal, lingual, anterior/posterior cingulate, insular, and precuneal volumes along with enlarged fusiform and caudate areas. Decreased GM was described in amygdalar, cerebellar , parietal, insular, middle temporal, and precentral structures together with decreased caudate and precuneus volumes (Cauda et al., 2011). A third ALE study, which included results for adults and children, showed GM changes in the lateral occipital lobe, the pericentral region, the medial temporal lobe, and the basal ganglia, and proximate to the right parietal operculum (Nickl-Jockschat et al., 2012). "
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    ABSTRACT: Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is increasingly being recognized as an important issue in adult psychiatry and psychotherapy. High intelligence indicates overall good brain functioning and might thus present a particularly good opportunity to study possible cerebral correlates of core autistic features in terms of impaired social cognition, communication skills, the need for routines, and circumscribed interests. Anatomical MRI data sets for 30 highly intelligent patients with high-functioning autism and 30 pairwise-matched control subjects were acquired and analyzed with voxel-based morphometry. The grey matter volume of the pairwise-matched patients and the controls did not differ significantly. When correcting for total brain volume influences, the patients with ASD exhibited smaller left superior frontal volumes on a trend level. Heterogeneous volumetric findings in earlier studies might partly be explained by study samples biased by a high inclusion rate of secondary forms of ASD, which often go along with neuronal abnormalities. Including only patients with high IQ scores might have decreased the influence of secondary forms of ASD and might explain the absence of significant volumetric differences between the patients and the controls in this study.
    Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging 08/2014; DOI:10.1016/j.pscychresns.2014.05.013 · 2.83 Impact Factor
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    • "in the study of ASC and several meta-analyses have been conducted (Cauda et al., 2011; Radua et al., 2011; Via et al., 2011; Nickl-Jockschat et al., 2012). Whilst there appears to be a consistency in the reports of case-control differences in occipital, temporal, and parietal lobes as well as the precentral gyrus, generally the extant literature is characterized by a significant level of between-study variability. "
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    ABSTRACT: The existence of an endophenotype of autism spectrum condition (ASC) has been recently suggested by several commentators. It can be estimated by finding differences between controls and people with ASC that are also present when comparing controls and the unaffected siblings of ASC individuals. In this work, we used a multivariate methodology applied on magnetic resonance images to look for such differences. The proposed procedure consists of combining a searchlight approach and a support vector machine classifier to identify the differences between three groups of participants in pairwise comparisons: controls, people with ASC and their unaffected siblings. Then we compared those differences selecting spatially collocated as candidate endophenotypes of ASC.
    Frontiers in Computational Neuroscience 06/2014; 8:60. DOI:10.3389/fncom.2014.00060 · 2.23 Impact Factor
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    • "The deficits in lateral cognitive fronto-striato-parietal circuitries may be related to evidence for delayed maturation of cortical thickness in these fronto-parieto-temporal regions (Shaw et al. 2007, 2011). Adolescents and adults with ASD, on the other hand, have more commonly been shown to have reduced activation in mPFC and their associated limbic-temporal regions during tasks of reward, emotion processing, and cognitive control (Schmitz et al. 2008; Di Martino et al. 2009; Uddin and Menon 2009; Philip et al. 2012), which may be related to abnormal maturation patterns in ASD patients in these regions (Cauda et al. 2011; Radua et al. 2011; Stigler et al. 2011). Children with ASD, unlike ADHD children, who show delayed maturation of fronto-cortical regions (Shaw et al. 2007, 2011), undergo a period of abnormal brain overgrowth in young childhood followed by a period of decreased growth, compared with controls (Courchesne et al. 2001, 2011; Amaral et al. 2008; Stigler et al. 2011). "
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    ABSTRACT: Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) share brain function abnormalities during cognitive flexibility. Serotonin is involved in both disorders, and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) can modulate cognitive flexibility and improve behavior in both disorders. Thus, this study investigates shared and disorder-specific brain dysfunctions in these 2 disorders during reward reversal, and the acute effects of an SSRI on these. Age-matched boys with ADHD (15), ASD (18), and controls (21) were compared with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) during a reversal task. Patients were scanned twice, under either an acute dose of Fluoxetine or placebo in a double-blind, placebo-controlled randomized design. Repeated-measures analyses within patients assessed drug effects. Patients under each drug condition were compared with controls to assess normalization effects. fMRI data showed that, under placebo, ASD boys underactivated medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), compared with control and ADHD boys. Both patient groups shared decreased precuneus activation. Under Fluoxetine, mPFC activation was up-regulated and normalized in ASD boys relative to controls, but down-regulated in ADHD boys relative to placebo, which was concomitant with worse task performance in ADHD. Fluoxetine therefore has inverse effects on mPFC activation in ASD and ADHD during reversal learning, suggesting dissociated underlying serotonin abnormalities.
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