Cortico-cerebellar connectivity in Autism Spectrum Disorder: What do we know so far?

Alessandro Crippa, Giuseppe Delvecchio, Silvia Busti Ceccarelli, Maria Nobile, Filippo Arrigoni, Paolo Brambilla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Although the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is renowned to be a connectivity disorder and a condition characterized by cerebellar involvement, the connectivity between the cerebellum and other cortical brain regions is particularly underexamined. Indeed, converging evidence has recently suggested that the cerebellum could play a key role in the etiopathogenesis of ASD, since cerebellar anomalies have been consistently reported in ASD from the molecular to the behavioral level, and damage to the cerebellum early in development has been linked with signs of autistic features. In addition, current data have shown that the cerebellum is a key structure not only for sensory-motor control, but also for "higher functions, "such as social cognition and emotion, through its extensive connections with cortical areas. The disruption of these circuits could be implicated in the wide range of autistic symptoms that the term "spectrum" connotes. In this review, we present and discuss the recent findings from imaging studies that investigated cortico-cerebellar connectivity in people with ASD. The literature is still too limited to allow for definitive conclusions; however, this brief review reveals substantial areas for future studies, underlining currently unmet research perspectives.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20
JournalFrontiers in Psychiatry
Volume7
Issue numberFEB
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 23 2016

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Keywords

  • Autism
  • Autism spectrum disorders
  • Cortico-cerebellar connectivity
  • DTI
  • FMRI
  • Resting-state fMRI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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