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Cortical anatomy in autism spectrum disorder: an in vivo MRI study on the effect of age.

Authors
  • Raznahan, Armin
  • Roberto Toro
  • Daly, Eileen
  • Robertson, Dene
  • Murphy, Clodagh
  • Deeley, Quinton
  • Bolton, Patrick F
  • Paus, Tomás
  • Murphy, Declan G M
Type
Published Article
Journal
Cerebral Cortex
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Publication Date
Oct 21, 2009
Volume
20
Issue
6
Pages
1332–1340
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1093/cercor/bhp198
PMID: 19819933
Source
USPC - SET - SVS
License
Green

Abstract

There is increasing evidence that children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have age-related differences from controls in cortical volume (CV). It is less clear, however, if these persist in adulthood and whether these reflect alterations in cortical thickness (CT) or cortical surface area (SA). Hence, we used magnetic resonance imaging to investigate the relationship between age and CV, CT, and SA in 127 males aged 10 through 60 years (76 with ASD and 51 healthy controls). "Regional" analyses (using cortical parcellation) identified significant age-by-group interactions in both CV and CT (but not SA) in the temporal lobes and within these the fusiform and middle temporal gyri. Spatially nonbiased "vertex-based" analysis replicated these results and identified additional "age-by-group" interactions for CT within superior temporal, inferior and medial frontal, and inferior parietal cortices. Here, CV and CT were 1) significantly negatively correlated with age in controls, but not in ASD, and 2) smaller in ASD than controls in childhood but vice versa in adulthood. Our findings suggest that CV dysmaturation in ASD extends beyond childhood, affects brain regions crucial to social cognition and language, and is driven by CT dysmaturation. This may reflect primary abnormalities in cortical plasticity and/or be secondary to disturbed interactions between individuals with ASD and their environment.

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