Boys with autism spectrum disorder have distinct cortical folding patterns underpinning impaired self-regulation: a surface-based morphometry study
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Although impaired self-regulation (dysregulation) in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) garnered increasing awareness, the neural mechanism of dysregulation in ASD are far from conclusive. To complement our previous voxel-based morphometry findings, we estimated the cortical thickness, surface area, and local gyrification index based on the surface-based morphometry from structural MRI images in 85 ASD and 65 typically developing control (TDC) boys, aged 7–17 years. Levels of dysregulation were measured by the sum of T-scores of Attention, Aggression, and Anxiety/Depression subscales on the Child Behavior Checklist. We found both ASD and TDC shared similar relationships between dysregulation and cortical folding patterns in the left superior and inferior temporal gyri and the left premotor cortex. Significant diagnosis by dysregulation interactions in cortical folding patterns were identified over the right middle frontal and right lateral orbitofrontal regions. The statistical significance of greater local gyrification index in ASD than TDC in several brain regions disappeared when the level of dysregulation was considered. The findings of shared and distinct neural correlates underpinning dysregulation between ASD and TDC may facilitate the development of targeted interventions in the future. The present work also demonstrates that inter-subject variations in self-regulation may explain some extents of ASD-associated brain morphometric differences, likely suggesting that dysregulation is one of the yardsticks for dissecting the heterogeneity of ASD.
KeywordsAutism spectrum disorder Structural MRI Dysregulation Surface-based morphometry Child behavior checklist
This work was supported by grants from National Science Council of Taiwan (NSC97-3112-B-002-009, NSC98-3112-B-002-004, NSC 99-2627-B-002-015, NSC 100-2627-B-002-014, NSC 101-2627-B-002-002, NSC 101-2314-B-002-136-MY3), National Taiwan University (AIM for Top University Excellent Research Project: 102R892103), National Taiwan University Hospital (NTUH101-S1910), National Health Research Institute (NHRI-EX104-10404PI, NHRI-EX105-10404PI, NHRI-EX106-10404PI), Taiwan and in part by the Department of Medical Imaging and 3 T MRI Lab in National Taiwan University Hospital. We are grateful for all participants and their parents for taking part in the study.
This work was supported by grants from National Science Council of Taiwan (NSC97-3112-B-002-009, NSC98-3112-B-002-004, NSC 99-2627-B-002-015, NSC 100-2627-B-002-014, NSC 101-2627-B-002-002, NSC 101-2314-B-002-136-MY3), National Taiwan University (AIM for Top University Excellent Research Project: 102R892103), National Taiwan University Hospital (NTUH101-S1910), National Health Research Institute (NHRI-EX104-10404PI, NHRI-EX105-10404PI, NHRI-EX106-10404PI), Taiwan and in part by the Department of Medical Imaging and 3 T MRI Lab in National Taiwan University Hospital.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare no competing interests.
The Research Ethics Committee at the NTUH approved our study before implementation (200903062R, 201201006RIB; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00916851, NCT01582256). Besides the ethical standards of the Committee at the NTUH on human experimentation, all procedures contributing to this work also comply with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2008.
The procedures and purpose of the study were explained face-to-face to the participants and their parents, who then provided written informed consent.
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