Differences in white matter fiber tract development present from 6 to 24 months in infants with autism.

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TitleDifferences in white matter fiber tract development present from 6 to 24 months in infants with autism.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsWolff, JJ, Gu, H, Gerig, G, Elison, JT, Styner, M, Gouttard, S, Botteron, KN, Dager, SR, Dawson, G, Estes, AM, Evans, AC, Hazlett, HC, Kostopoulos, P, Mckinstry, RC, Paterson, SJ, Schultz, RT, Zwaigenbaum, L, Piven, J
Corporate AuthorsIBIS Network
JournalAm J Psychiatry
Volume169
Issue6
Pagination589-600
Date Published2012 Jun
ISSN1535-7228
KeywordsAnisotropy, Autistic Disorder, Brain, Case-Control Studies, Child Development Disorders, Pervasive, Child, Preschool, Diffusion Tensor Imaging, Female, Humans, Infant, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Male, Nerve Fibers, Myelinated, Neuroimaging
Abstract

OBJECTIVE: Evidence from prospective studies of high-risk infants suggests that early symptoms of autism usually emerge late in the first or early in the second year of life after a period of relatively typical development. The authors prospectively examined white matter fiber tract organization from 6 to 24 months in high-risk infants who developed autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) by 24 months.METHOD: The participants were 92 high-risk infant siblings from an ongoing imaging study of autism. All participants had diffusion tensor imaging at 6 months and behavioral assessments at 24 months; a majority contributed additional imaging data at 12 and/or 24 months. At 24 months, 28 infants met criteria for ASDs and 64 infants did not. Microstructural properties of white matter fiber tracts reported to be associated with ASDs or related behaviors were characterized by fractional anisotropy and radial and axial diffusivity.RESULTS: The fractional anisotropy trajectories for 12 of 15 fiber tracts differed significantly between the infants who developed ASDs and those who did not. Development for most fiber tracts in the infants with ASDs was characterized by higher fractional anisotropy values at 6 months followed by slower change over time relative to infants without ASDs. Thus, by 24 months of age, those with ASDs had lower values.CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that aberrant development of white matter pathways may precede the manifestation of autistic symptoms in the first year of life. Longitudinal data are critical to characterizing the dynamic age-related brain and behavior changes underlying this neurodevelopmental disorder.

DOI10.1176/appi.ajp.2011.11091447
Alternate JournalAm J Psychiatry
PubMed ID22362397
PubMed Central IDPMC3377782
Grant ListP30 HD003110-40 / HD / NICHD NIH HHS / United States
EB-005149 / EB / NIBIB NIH HHS / United States
HD-055741-S1 / HD / NICHD NIH HHS / United States
HD-055741 / HD / NICHD NIH HHS / United States
U54 EB005149 / EB / NIBIB NIH HHS / United States
R01 HD055741-02S1A1 / HD / NICHD NIH HHS / United States
HD-40127 / HD / NICHD NIH HHS / United States
T32 HD007376 / HD / NICHD NIH HHS / United States
T32 HD040127-10 / HD / NICHD NIH HHS / United States
P30 HD003110 / HD / NICHD NIH HHS / United States
T32 HD040127 / HD / NICHD NIH HHS / United States
U54 EB005149-07 / EB / NIBIB NIH HHS / United States
R01 HD055741-01 / HD / NICHD NIH HHS / United States
HD-03110 / HD / NICHD NIH HHS / United States
R01 HD055741 / HD / NICHD NIH HHS / United States
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