Lobular patterns of cerebellar resting-state connectivity in adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Olivito, Giusy, Lupo, Michela, Laghi, Fiorenzo, Clausi, Silvia, Baiocco, Roberto, Cercignani, Mara, Bozzali, Marco and Leggio, Maria (2017) Lobular patterns of cerebellar resting-state connectivity in adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder. European Journal of Neuroscience. ISSN 1460-9568

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Abstract

Autism spectrum disorder is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by core deficits in social functioning. Core autistics traits refer to poor social and imagination skills, poor attention-switching/strong focus of attention, exceptional attention to detail, as expressed by the autism-spectrum quotient. Over the years, the importance of the cerebellum in the aetiology of autism spectrum disorder has been acknowledged. Neuroimaging studies have provided a strong support to this view, showing both structural and functional connectivity alterations to affect the cerebellum in autism spectrum disorder. According to the underconnectivity theory, disrupted connectivity within cerebello-cerebral networks has been specifically implicated in the aetiology of autism spectrum disorder. However, inconsistent results have been generated across studies. In this study, an integrated approach has been used in a selected population of adults with autism spectrum disorder to analyse both cerebellar morphometry and functional connectivity. In individuals with autism spectrum disorder, a decreased cerebellar grey matter volume affected the right Crus II, a region showing extensive connections with cerebral areas related to social functions. This grey matter reduction correlates with the degree of autistic traits as measured by autism-spectrum quotient. Interestingly, altered functional connectivity was found between the reduced cerebellar Crus II and contralateral cerebral regions, such as frontal and temporal areas. Overall, the present data suggest that adults with autism spectrum disorder present with specific cerebellar structural alterations that may affect functional connectivity within cerebello-cerebral modules relevant to social processing and account for core autistics traits.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: Brighton and Sussex Medical School > Neuroscience
Subjects: R Medicine
R Medicine > R Medicine (General) > R895 Medical physics. Medical radiology. Nuclear medicine
Depositing User: Patricia Butler
Date Deposited: 09 Jan 2018 08:23
Last Modified: 09 Jan 2018 08:23
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/72345

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