High angular resolution diffusion imaging in a child with autism spectrum disorder and comparison with his unaffected identical twin

Eugenia Conti, Kerstin Pannek, Sara Calderoni, Anna Gaglianese, Simona Fiori, Paola Brovedani, Danilo Scelfo, Stephen Rose, Michela Tosetti, Giovanni Cioni, Andrea Guzzetta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

In recent years, the use of brain diffusion MRI has led to the hypothesis that children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) show abnormally connected brains. We used the model of disease-discordant identical twins to test the hypothesis that higher-order diffusion MRI protocols are able to detect abnormal connectivity in a single subject. We studied the structural connectivity of the brain of a child with ASD, and of that of his unaffected identical twin, using high angular resolution diffusion imaging (HARDI) probabilistic tractography. Cortical regions were automatically parcellated from high-res- olution structural images, and HARDI-based connection matrices were produced for statistical comparison. Differences in diffusion indexes between subjects were tested by Wilcoxon signed rank test. Tracts were defined as discordant when they showed a between-subject difference of 10 percent or more. Around 11 percent of the discordant intra-hemispher- ic tracts showed lower fractional anisotropy (FA) values in the ASD twin, while only 1 percent showed higher values. This difference was significant. Our findings in a disease-discordant identical twin pair confirm previous literature consistently reporting lower FA values in children with ASD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-208
Number of pages6
JournalFunctional Neurology
Volume30
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2015

Keywords

  • Abnormal connectivity
  • Autism
  • Connectome
  • Correlation matrix

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)

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