Large-scale analyses of the relationship between sex, age and intelligence quotient heterogeneity and cortical morphometry in autism spectrum disorder.

TitleLarge-scale analyses of the relationship between sex, age and intelligence quotient heterogeneity and cortical morphometry in autism spectrum disorder.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsBedford SA, Park MTae M, Devenyi GA, Tullo S, Germann J, Patel R, Anagnostou E, Baron-Cohen S, Bullmore ET, Chura LR, Craig MC, Ecker C, Floris DL, Holt RJ, Lenroot R, Lerch JP, Lombardo MV, Murphy DGM, Raznahan A, Ruigrok ANV, Smith E, Spencer MD, Suckling J, Taylor MJ, Thurm A, Lai M-C, M Chakravarty M
Corporate AuthorsMRC AIMS Consortium
JournalMol Psychiatry
Date Published2019 Apr 26
ISSN1476-5578
Abstract

Significant heterogeneity across aetiologies, neurobiology and clinical phenotypes have been observed in individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Neuroimaging-based neuroanatomical studies of ASD have often reported inconsistent findings which may, in part, be attributable to an insufficient understanding of the relationship between factors influencing clinical heterogeneity and their relationship to brain anatomy. To this end, we performed a large-scale examination of cortical morphometry in ASD, with a specific focus on the impact of three potential sources of heterogeneity: sex, age and full-scale intelligence (FIQ). To examine these potentially subtle relationships, we amassed a large multi-site dataset that was carefully quality controlled (yielding a final sample of 1327 from the initial dataset of 3145 magnetic resonance images; 491 individuals with ASD). Using a meta-analytic technique to account for inter-site differences, we identified greater cortical thickness in individuals with ASD relative to controls, in regions previously implicated in ASD, including the superior temporal gyrus and inferior frontal sulcus. Greater cortical thickness was observed in sex specific regions; further, cortical thickness differences were observed to be greater in younger individuals and in those with lower FIQ, and to be related to overall clinical severity. This work serves as an important step towards parsing factors that influence neuroanatomical heterogeneity in ASD and is a potential step towards establishing individual-specific biomarkers.

DOI10.1038/s41380-019-0420-6
Alternate JournalMol. Psychiatry
PubMed ID31028290
Grant ListNCT00001246 / / U.S. Department of Health & Human Services | NIH | National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) /

  • Douglas Hospital
  • Dobell Pavillion
  • Brain imaging centre