Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Brain. 2012 Sep;135(Pt 9):2711-25. doi: 10.1093/brain/aws160. Epub 2012 Jul 11.

Fractionation of social brain circuits in autism spectrum disorders.

Author information

1
Section on Cognitive Neuropsychology, Laboratory of Brain and Cognition, National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA. gottss@mail.nih.gov

Abstract

Autism spectrum disorders are developmental disorders characterized by impairments in social and communication abilities and repetitive behaviours. Converging neuroscientific evidence has suggested that the neuropathology of autism spectrum disorders is widely distributed, involving impaired connectivity throughout the brain. Here, we evaluate the hypothesis that decreased connectivity in high-functioning adolescents with an autism spectrum disorder relative to typically developing adolescents is concentrated within domain-specific circuits that are specialized for social processing. Using a novel whole-brain connectivity approach in functional magnetic resonance imaging, we found that not only are decreases in connectivity most pronounced between regions of the social brain but also they are selective to connections between limbic-related brain regions involved in affective aspects of social processing from other parts of the social brain that support language and sensorimotor processes. This selective pattern was independently obtained for correlations with measures of social symptom severity, implying a fractionation of the social brain in autism spectrum disorders at the level of whole circuits.

Comment in

PMID:
22791801
PMCID:
PMC3437021
DOI:
10.1093/brain/aws160
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Silverchair Information Systems Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center