Advertisement

Toward a Multimodal, Multiscale Understanding of White Matter Abnormalities in Autism Spectrum Disorder

  • Jason W. Bohland
    Correspondence
    Address correspondence to Jason W. Bohland, Ph.D., 635 Commonwealth Avenue, Room 403, Boston, MA 02215.
    Affiliations
    Department of Health Sciences, College of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences: Sargent College, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts
    Search for articles by this author
Published:February 23, 2016DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsych.2016.02.020
      Convergent evidence suggests that autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is manifest in anatomic changes to the brain during development that affect neural connectivity. Autism as a disconnection syndrome has been discussed for some time (
      • Frith C.
      Is autism a disconnection disorder?.
      ), and recent effort has focused on measuring and characterizing aberrant structural and functional connectivity in the disorder. For practical reasons, most of these studies were conducted in older children or adults. However, gross measures, such as head circumference and brain volume, suggest a change in the phenotypic profile from early childhood, when children with ASD have increased brain size relative to control subjects, to older childhood and adulthood, when the effect is not seen (
      • Courchesne E.
      • Campbell K.
      • Solso S.
      Brain growth across the life span in autism: Age-specific changes in anatomical pathology.
      ). Thus, there is strong motivation to expand the study of ASD characteristics in very young cohorts to better understand the developmental trajectory of the disease. Moreover, the rapid increase in ASD incidence, estimated to affect 1 in 68 8-year-old American children (

      Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 10 things to know about new autism data. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/features/dsautismdata/index.html. Accessed February 15, 2016

      ), suggests an urgent need for improved understanding of the pathologic features and especially the early developmental pathophysiology to assist early diagnosis, identify high-risk individuals, and inform therapeutic options.
      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'

      Subscribe:

      Subscribe to Biological Psychiatry
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect

      References

        • Frith C.
        Is autism a disconnection disorder?.
        Lancet Neurol. 2004; 3: 577
        • Courchesne E.
        • Campbell K.
        • Solso S.
        Brain growth across the life span in autism: Age-specific changes in anatomical pathology.
        Brain Res. 2011; 1380: 138-145
      1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 10 things to know about new autism data. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/features/dsautismdata/index.html. Accessed February 15, 2016

        • Solso S.
        • Xu R.
        • Proudfoot J.
        • Hagler D.J.
        • Campbell K.
        • Venkatraman V.
        • et al.
        Diffusion tensor imaging provides evidence of possible axonal overconnectivity in frontal lobes in autism spectrum disorder toddlers.
        Biol Psychiatry. 2016; 79: 676-684
        • Conti E.
        • Calderoni S.
        • Marchi V.
        • Muratori F.
        • Cioni G.
        • Guzzetta A.
        The first 1000 days of the autistic brain: A systematic review of diffusion imaging studies.
        Front Hum Neurosci. 2015; 9: 159
        • Just M.A.
        • Keller T.A.
        • Malave V.L.
        • Kana R.K.
        • Varma S.
        Autism as a neural systems disorder: A theory of frontal-posterior underconnectivity.
        Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2012; 36: 1292-1313
        • Jones D.K.
        • Knösche T.R.
        • Turner R.
        White matter integrity, fiber count, and other fallacies: The do’s and don’ts of diffusion MRI.
        Neuroimage. 2013; 73: 239-254
        • Zikopoulos B.
        • Barbas H.
        Changes in prefrontal axons may disrupt the network in autism.
        J Neurosci. 2010; 30: 14595-14609
        • Geschwind D.H.
        Genetics of autism spectrum disorders.
        Trends Cogn Sci. 2011; 15: 409-416
        • Bohland J.W.
        • Myers E.M.
        • Kim E.
        An informatics approach to integrating genetic and neurological data in speech and language neuroscience.
        Neuroinformatics. 2014; 12: 39-62
        • Wolff J.J.
        • Gu H.
        • Gerig G.
        • Elison J.T.
        • Styner M.
        • Gouttard S.
        • et al.
        Differences in white matter fiber tract development present from 6 to 24 months in infants with autism.
        Am J Psychiatry. 2012; 169: 589-600

      Linked Article