Format

Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Aust N Z J Psychiatry. 2011 Feb;45(2):153-62. doi: 10.3109/00048674.2010.534069. Epub 2010 Dec 6.

Diffusion tensor imaging in autism spectrum disorders: preliminary evidence of abnormal neural connectivity.

Author information

  • 1Child Study Center and Investigative Medicine Program, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06519-1124, USA. roger.jou@yale.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

This study indirectly tested the hypothesis that individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) have impaired neural connections between the amygdala, fusiform face area, and superior temporal sulcus, key processing nodes of the 'social brain'. This would be evidenced by abnormalities in the major fibre tracts known to connect these structures, including the inferior longitudinal fasciculus and inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus.

METHOD:

Magnetic resonance diffusion tensor imaging was performed on 20 right-handed males (ASD = 10, controls = 10) with a mean age 13.5 ± 4.0 years. Subjects were group-matched according to age, full-scale IQ, handedness, and ethnicity. Fractional anisotropy was used to assess structural integrity of major fibre tracts. Voxel-wise comparison of white matter fractional anisotropy was conducted between groups using ANCOVA adjusting for age, full-scale IQ, and brain volume. Volumes of interest were identified using predetermined probability and cluster thresholds. Follow-up tractography was performed to confirm the anatomic location of all volumes of interest which were observed primarily in peri-callosal regions and the temporal lobes.

RESULTS:

The regions of lower fractional anisotropy, as confirmed by tractography, involved the inferior longitudinal fasciculus/inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus, superior longitudinal fasciculus, and corpus callosum/cingulum. Notably, some volumes of interest were adjacent to the fusiform face area, bilaterally, corresponding to involvement of the inferior longitudinal fasciculus. The largest effect sizes were noted for volumes of interest in the right anterior radiation of the corpus callosum/cingulum and right fusiform face area (inferior longitudinal fasciculus).

CONCLUSIONS:

This study provides preliminary evidence of impaired neural connectivity in the corpus callosum/cingulum and temporal lobes involving the inferior longitudinal fasciculus/inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus and superior longitudinal fasciculus in ASDs. These findings provide preliminary support for aberrant neural connectivity between the amygdala, fusiform face area, and superior temporal sulcus-temporal lobe structures critical for normal social perception and cognition.

PMID:
21128874
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3123660
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk