Lateralization of brain networks and clinical severity in toddlers with autism spectrum disorder: A HARDI diffusion MRI study

Conti, Eugenia, Calderoni, Sara, Gaglianese, Anna, Pannek, Kerstin, Mazzotti, Sara, Rose, Stephen, Scelfo, Danilo, Tosetti, Michela, Muratori, Filippo, Cioni, Giovanni and Guzzetta, Andrea (2016) Lateralization of brain networks and clinical severity in toddlers with autism spectrum disorder: A HARDI diffusion MRI study. Autism Research, 9 3: 382-392. doi:10.1002/aur.1533


Author Conti, Eugenia
Calderoni, Sara
Gaglianese, Anna
Pannek, Kerstin
Mazzotti, Sara
Rose, Stephen
Scelfo, Danilo
Tosetti, Michela
Muratori, Filippo
Cioni, Giovanni
Guzzetta, Andrea
Title Lateralization of brain networks and clinical severity in toddlers with autism spectrum disorder: A HARDI diffusion MRI study
Journal name Autism Research   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1939-3806
Publication date 2016-03
Year available 2015
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1002/aur.1533
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 9
Issue 3
Start page 382
End page 392
Total pages 11
Place of publication Hoboken, United States
Publisher John Wiley & Sons
Collection year 2017
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Recent diffusion tensor imaging studies in adolescents and children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) have reported a loss or an inversion of the typical left–right lateralization in fronto-temporal regions crucial for sociocommunicative skills. No studies explored atypical lateralization in toddlers and its correlation with clinical severity of ASD. We recruited a cohort of 20 subjects aged 36 months or younger receiving a first clinical diagnosis of ASD (15 males; age range 20–36 months). Patients underwent diffusion MRI (High-Angular-Resolution Diffusion Imaging protocol). Data from cortical parcellation were combined with tractography to obtain a connection matrix and diffusion indexes (DI) including mean fractional anisotropy (DFA), number of tracts (DNUM), and total tract length (DTTL). A laterality index was generated for each measure, and then correlated with the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule-Generic (ADOS-G) total score. Laterality indexes of DFA were significantly correlated with ADOS-G total scores only in two intrafrontal connected areas (correlation was positive in one case and negative in the other). Laterality indexes of DTTL and DNUM showed significant negative correlations (P < 0.05) in six connected areas, mainly fronto-temporal. This study provides first evidence of a significant correlation between brain lateralization of diffusion indexes and clinical severity in toddlers with a first diagnosis of ASD. Significant correlations mainly involved regions within the fronto-temporal circuits, known to be crucial for sociocommunicative skills. It is of interest that all correlations but one were negative, suggesting an inversion of the typical left–right asymmetry in subjects with most severe clinical impairment.
Keyword Autism
Autism spectrum disorder
Brain lateralization
Cerebral lateralization
Diffusion imaging
High-angular-resolution diffusion imaging
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: UQ Centre for Clinical Research Publications
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