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Pharmacogenomics J. 2013 Feb;13(1):70-9. doi: 10.1038/tpj.2012.3. Epub 2012 Feb 14.

Gray matter textural heterogeneity as a potential in-vivo biomarker of fine structural abnormalities in Asperger syndrome.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Brighton & Sussex Medical School (BSMS), Brighton, UK. e.radulescu@bsms.ac.uk

Abstract

Brain imaging studies contribute to the neurobiological understanding of Autism Spectrum Conditions (ASC). Herein, we tested the prediction that distributed neurodevelopmental abnormalities in brain development impact on the homogeneity of brain tissue measured using texture analysis (TA; a morphological method for surface pattern characterization). TA was applied to structural magnetic resonance brain scans of 54 adult participants (24 with Asperger syndrome (AS) and 30 controls). Measures of mean gray-level intensity, entropy and uniformity were extracted from gray matter images at fine, medium and coarse textures. Comparisons between AS and controls identified higher entropy and lower uniformity across textures in the AS group. Data reduction of texture parameters revealed three orthogonal principal components. These were used as regressors-of-interest in a voxel-based morphometry analysis that explored the relationship between surface texture variations and regional gray matter volume. Across the AS but not control group, measures of entropy and uniformity were related to the volume of the caudate nuclei, whereas mean gray-level was related to the size of the cerebellar vermis. Similar to neuropathological studies, our study provides evidence for distributed abnormalities in the structural integrity of gray matter in adults with ASC, in particular within corticostriatal and corticocerebellar networks. Additionally, this in-vivo technique may be more sensitive to fine microstructural organization than other more traditional magnetic resonance approaches and serves as a future testable biomarker in AS and other neurodevelopmental disorders.

PMID:
22333911
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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