Developmental Trajectories and Correlates of Sensory Processing in Young Boys with Fragile X Syndrome

Division of Occupational Science, Department of Allied Health Sciences, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA.
Physical & Occupational Therapy in Pediatrics (Impact Factor: 1.46). 02/2008; 28(1):79-98. DOI: 10.1300/J006v28n01_06
Source: PubMed


No longitudinal study on sensory processing in children with fragile X syndrome (FXS) exists. This study examined developmental trajectories and correlates of sensory processing from infancy through preschool years in 13 boys with FXS.
Participants were assessed using observational and parent-report measures 2-6 times between 9 and 54 months of age.
Over time, an increasing proportion of boys displayed sensory processing that differed significantly from test norms. Observational measures were more sensitive than parent-reports early in infancy. Age and developmental quotient significantly predicted levels of hyporesponsiveness; there was a trend for hyperresponsiveness to increase with age. Baseline physiological and biological measures were not predictive.
Sensory processing problems are observable early and grow increasingly problematic from infancy through the preschool ages. Early identification and intervention may attenuate long-term difficulties for children with FXS.

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    • "Maladaptive sensory responses and impaired sensory integration are characteristic of FXS patients and model animals [6]–[9]. Studies of the Fmr1 KO mouse indicate that the null mutation has different effects on development in visual and somatosensory systems. "
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    ABSTRACT: Fragile X syndrome is a developmental disorder that affects sensory systems. A null mutation of the Fragile X Mental Retardation protein 1 (Fmr1) gene in mice has varied effects on developmental plasticity in different sensory systems, including normal barrel cortical plasticity, altered ocular dominance plasticity and grossly impaired auditory frequency map plasticity. The mutation also has different effects on long-term synaptic plasticity in somatosensory and visual cortical neurons, providing insights on how it may differentially affect the sensory systems. Here we present evidence that long-term potentiation (LTP) is impaired in the developing auditory cortex of the Fmr1 knockout (KO) mice. This impairment of synaptic plasticity is consistent with impaired frequency map plasticity in the Fmr1 KO mouse. Together, these results suggest a potential role of LTP in sensory map plasticity during early sensory development.
    PLoS ONE 08/2014; 9(8):e104691. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0104691 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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    • "There is co-morbidity with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism and other psychopathology, but SPD often exists in isolation (Ahn et al., 2004; Ben-Sasson et al., 2009b; Leekam et al., 2007; Van Hulle et al., 2012). Sensory dysregulation is also prevalent in children born prematurely and those with fragile X syndrome (Baranek et al., 2008; Goldsmith et al., 2006; Wickremasinghe et al., 2013). While there have been many prior investigations of the biological basis of ADHD, autism, prematurity, and even less common diseases such as fragile X, the neural substrates of SPD remain poorly understood. "
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    ABSTRACT: Sensory processing disorders (SPD) affect 5-16% of school-aged children and can cause long-term deficits in intellectual and social development. Current theories of SPD implicate primary sensory cortical areas and higher-order multisensory integration (MSI) cortical regions. We investigate the role of white matter microstructural abnormalities in SPD using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). DTI was acquired in 16 boys, 8-11 years old, with SPD and 24 age-, gender-, handedness- and IQ-matched neurotypical controls. Behavior was characterized using a parent report sensory behavior measure, the Sensory Profile. Fractional anisotropy (FA), mean diffusivity (MD) and radial diffusivity (RD) were calculated. Tract-based spatial statistics were used to detect significant group differences in white matter integrity and to determine if microstructural parameters were significantly correlated with behavioral measures. Significant decreases in FA and increases in MD and RD were found in the SPD cohort compared to controls, primarily involving posterior white matter including the posterior corpus callosum, posterior corona radiata and posterior thalamic radiations. Strong positive correlations were observed between FA of these posterior tracts and auditory, multisensory, and inattention scores (r = 0.51-0.78; p < 0.001) with strong negative correlations between RD and multisensory and inattention scores (r = - 0.61-0.71; p < 0.001). To our knowledge, this is the first study to demonstrate reduced white matter microstructural integrity in children with SPD. We find that the disrupted white matter microstructure predominantly involves posterior cerebral tracts and correlates strongly with atypical unimodal and multisensory integration behavior. These findings suggest abnormal white matter as a biological basis for SPD and may also distinguish SPD from overlapping clinical conditions such as autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
    Clinical neuroimaging 12/2013; 2(1):844-53. DOI:10.1016/j.nicl.2013.06.009 · 2.53 Impact Factor
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    • "FXS is no exception. For example, tactile defensiveness, or hypersensitivity to a normally mild stimulus, is common in FXS [98, 99], and ocular dominance plasticity in response to monocular deprivation is disrupted in Fmr1 KO mice [26]. Although not yet extensively studied, several lines of evidence indicate that the pathological plasticity mechanisms and associated deficits discussed in this paper are prime candidates to affect critical periods of FXS network development. "
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    ABSTRACT: Deficits in neuronal plasticity are common hallmarks of many neurodevelopmental disorders. In the case of fragile-X syndrome (FXS), disruption in the function of a single gene, FMR1, results in a variety of neurological consequences directly related to problems with the development, maintenance, and capacity of plastic neuronal networks. In this paper, we discuss current research illustrating the mechanisms underlying plasticity deficits in FXS. These processes include synaptic, cell intrinsic, and homeostatic mechanisms both dependent on and independent of abnormal metabotropic glutamate receptor transmission. We place particular emphasis on how identified deficits may play a role in developmental critical periods to produce neuronal networks with permanently decreased capacity to dynamically respond to changes in activity central to learning, memory, and cognition in patients with FXS. Characterizing early developmental deficits in plasticity is fundamental to develop therapies that not only treat symptoms but also minimize the developmental pathology of the disease.
    Neural Plasticity 07/2012; 2012(7):275630. DOI:10.1155/2012/275630 · 3.58 Impact Factor
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