Structural white matter deficits in high-functioning individuals with autistic spectrum disorder: a voxel-based investigation.
ABSTRACT A number of imaging and neuropathological studies have reported structural abnormalities in white matter areas such as the corpus callosum in autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Differences in both global brain volume and the size of specific neural structures have been reported. In order to expand these previously reported findings and to describe more precisely the nature of such structural changes, we performed a voxel-based morphometric whole brain analysis, using a group-specific template, in male adolescents with ASD. Fifteen individuals with normal intelligence and ASD, and a group of 16 controls, matched for age, sex, and IQ, were investigated. High-resolution T1-weighted 3D data sets were acquired and analysed. Local white matter volume deficits were found in the corpus callosum, particularly in the anterior splenium and isthmus, and right hemisphere. White matter volume deficits were also found in the left middle temporal, right middle frontal, and left superior frontal gyri. No significant areas of increased white matter volume were found. Our findings support the hypothesis that reduced white matter volume in the corpus callosum and right hemisphere may play a role in the pathophysiology of ASD.
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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.11/2014; 7. DOI:10.1016/j.nicl.2014.11.004
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ABSTRACT: Although it is widely accepted that autism spectrum disorder (ASD) involves neuroanatomical abnormalities and atypical neurodevelopmental patterns, there is little consensus regarding the precise pattern of neuroanatomical differences or how these differences relate to autism symptomology. Furthermore, there is limited research related to neuroanatomical correlates of autism symptomology in individuals with ASD and the studies that do exist primarily include small samples. This study was the first to investigate gray matter (GM) changes throughout the ASD lifespan, using voxel-based morphometry to determine whether significant differences exist in the GM volumes of a large sample of individuals with ASD compared to age- and IQ-matched typical controls. We examined GM volume across the lifespan in 531 individuals diagnosed with ASD and 571 neurotypical controls, aged 7–64. We compared groups and correlated GM with age and autism severity in the ASD group. Findings suggest bilateral decreased GM volume for individuals with ASD in regions extending from the thalamus to the cerebellum, anterior medial temporal lobes, and orbitofrontal regions. Higher autism severity was associated with decreased GM volumes in prefrontal cortex, inferior parietal and temporal regions, and temporal poles. Similar relationships were found between GM volume and age. ASD diagnosis and severity were not associated with increased GM volumes in any region. Autism Res 2015. © 2015 International Society for Autism Research, Wiley Periodicals, Inc.Autism Research 01/2015; DOI:10.1002/aur.1453 · 4.53 Impact Factor