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Sex differences in structural organization of motor systems and their dissociable links with repetitive/restricted behaviors in children with autism.

Supekar K, Menon V - Mol Autism (2015)

Bottom Line: This sex difference pattern was specific to ASD as the GM in these brain regions did not discriminate TD girls and boys.We found robust evidence for reduced levels of RRB in girls, compared to boys, with ASD, providing the strongest evidence to date for sex differences in a core phenotypic feature of childhood ASD.Sex differences in brain morphometry are prominent in the motor system and in areas that comprise the "social brain." Notably, RRB severity is associated with sex differences in GM morphometry in distinct motor regions.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine, 401 Quarry Rd., Stanford, CA 94304-5719 USA.

ABSTRACT

Background: Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is diagnosed much less often in females than males. Emerging behavioral accounts suggest that the clinical presentation of autism is different in females and males, yet research examining sex differences in core symptoms of autism in affected children has been limited. Additionally, to date, there have been no systematic attempts to characterize neuroanatomical differences underlying the distinct behavioral profiles observed in girls and boys with ASD. This is in part because extant ASD studies have included a small number of girls.

Methods: Leveraging the National Database for Autism Research (NDAR), we first analyzed symptom severity in a large sample consisting of 128 ASD girls and 614 age- and IQ-matched ASD boys. We then examined symptom severity and structural imaging data using novel multivariate pattern analysis in a well-matched group of 25 ASD girls, 25 ASD boys, 19 typically developing (TD) girls, and 19 TD boys, obtained from the Autism Brain Imaging Data Exchange (ABIDE).

Results: In both the NDAR and ABIDE datasets, girls, compared to boys, with ASD showed less severe repetitive/restricted behaviors (RRBs) and comparable deficits in the social and communication domains. In the ABIDE imaging dataset, gray matter (GM) patterns in the motor cortex, supplementary motor area (SMA), cerebellum, fusiform gyrus, and amygdala accurately discriminated girls and boys with ASD. This sex difference pattern was specific to ASD as the GM in these brain regions did not discriminate TD girls and boys. Moreover, GM in the motor cortex, SMA, and crus 1 subdivision of the cerebellum was correlated with RRB in girls whereas GM in the right putamen-the region that discriminated TD girls and boys-was correlated with RRB in boys.

Conclusions: We found robust evidence for reduced levels of RRB in girls, compared to boys, with ASD, providing the strongest evidence to date for sex differences in a core phenotypic feature of childhood ASD. Sex differences in brain morphometry are prominent in the motor system and in areas that comprise the "social brain." Notably, RRB severity is associated with sex differences in GM morphometry in distinct motor regions. Our findings provide novel insights into the neurobiology of sex differences in childhood autism.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Sex differences in core impairments in childhood autism. a In the NDAR dataset, girls with ASD showed less severe repetitive and restricted behavior, as measured by scores on the repetitive/restricted behavior domain of the ADI-R. There were no sex differences in scores on the social domain of the ADI-R as well as the communication domain of the ADI-R. b In the ABIDE dataset, similar to the results observed in the NDAR dataset, girls with ASD showed less severe repetitive and restricted behavior, as measured by scores on the repetitive/restricted behavior domain of the ADI-R. There were no sex differences in scores on the social domain of the ADI-R as well as the communication domain of the ADI-R
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Fig1: Sex differences in core impairments in childhood autism. a In the NDAR dataset, girls with ASD showed less severe repetitive and restricted behavior, as measured by scores on the repetitive/restricted behavior domain of the ADI-R. There were no sex differences in scores on the social domain of the ADI-R as well as the communication domain of the ADI-R. b In the ABIDE dataset, similar to the results observed in the NDAR dataset, girls with ASD showed less severe repetitive and restricted behavior, as measured by scores on the repetitive/restricted behavior domain of the ADI-R. There were no sex differences in scores on the social domain of the ADI-R as well as the communication domain of the ADI-R

Mentions: In the NDAR dataset, girls and boys did not differ in overall severity of ASD, as measured by total scores on the ADI-R (p = 0.12, t(740) = −1.15). Also, there were no sex differences in scores on the social domain of the ADI-R (p = 0.28, t(740) = −1.09) nor on the communication domain of the ADI-R (p = 0.12, t(740) = −1.15). However, girls with ASD showed less severe RRB, as measured by the ADI-R (p < < 0.01, t(740) = −5.19) (Fig. 1a). To further demonstrate the robustness of our findings, we investigated whether scores on various ADI-R domains taken together could discriminate girls with ASD from boys with ASD, using a multivariate sparsity-promoting linear classifier. This analysis revealed that girls with ASD could be distinguished from boys with ASD on the basis of their ADI-R domain scores with an accuracy of 94 %. Notably, the most significant feature that discriminated the two groups was the ADI-R RRB domain score. The ADI-R social as well as communication domain scores were not significant (zero), i.e., they did not contribute to the discrimination of girls and boys with ASD. These results further highlight the specificity of our finding of sex differences in RRB in childhood autism.Fig. 1


Sex differences in structural organization of motor systems and their dissociable links with repetitive/restricted behaviors in children with autism.

Supekar K, Menon V - Mol Autism (2015)

Sex differences in core impairments in childhood autism. a In the NDAR dataset, girls with ASD showed less severe repetitive and restricted behavior, as measured by scores on the repetitive/restricted behavior domain of the ADI-R. There were no sex differences in scores on the social domain of the ADI-R as well as the communication domain of the ADI-R. b In the ABIDE dataset, similar to the results observed in the NDAR dataset, girls with ASD showed less severe repetitive and restricted behavior, as measured by scores on the repetitive/restricted behavior domain of the ADI-R. There were no sex differences in scores on the social domain of the ADI-R as well as the communication domain of the ADI-R
© Copyright Policy - OpenAccess
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License 1 - License 2
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4559968&req=5

Fig1: Sex differences in core impairments in childhood autism. a In the NDAR dataset, girls with ASD showed less severe repetitive and restricted behavior, as measured by scores on the repetitive/restricted behavior domain of the ADI-R. There were no sex differences in scores on the social domain of the ADI-R as well as the communication domain of the ADI-R. b In the ABIDE dataset, similar to the results observed in the NDAR dataset, girls with ASD showed less severe repetitive and restricted behavior, as measured by scores on the repetitive/restricted behavior domain of the ADI-R. There were no sex differences in scores on the social domain of the ADI-R as well as the communication domain of the ADI-R
Mentions: In the NDAR dataset, girls and boys did not differ in overall severity of ASD, as measured by total scores on the ADI-R (p = 0.12, t(740) = −1.15). Also, there were no sex differences in scores on the social domain of the ADI-R (p = 0.28, t(740) = −1.09) nor on the communication domain of the ADI-R (p = 0.12, t(740) = −1.15). However, girls with ASD showed less severe RRB, as measured by the ADI-R (p < < 0.01, t(740) = −5.19) (Fig. 1a). To further demonstrate the robustness of our findings, we investigated whether scores on various ADI-R domains taken together could discriminate girls with ASD from boys with ASD, using a multivariate sparsity-promoting linear classifier. This analysis revealed that girls with ASD could be distinguished from boys with ASD on the basis of their ADI-R domain scores with an accuracy of 94 %. Notably, the most significant feature that discriminated the two groups was the ADI-R RRB domain score. The ADI-R social as well as communication domain scores were not significant (zero), i.e., they did not contribute to the discrimination of girls and boys with ASD. These results further highlight the specificity of our finding of sex differences in RRB in childhood autism.Fig. 1

Bottom Line: This sex difference pattern was specific to ASD as the GM in these brain regions did not discriminate TD girls and boys.We found robust evidence for reduced levels of RRB in girls, compared to boys, with ASD, providing the strongest evidence to date for sex differences in a core phenotypic feature of childhood ASD.Sex differences in brain morphometry are prominent in the motor system and in areas that comprise the "social brain." Notably, RRB severity is associated with sex differences in GM morphometry in distinct motor regions.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine, 401 Quarry Rd., Stanford, CA 94304-5719 USA.

ABSTRACT

Background: Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is diagnosed much less often in females than males. Emerging behavioral accounts suggest that the clinical presentation of autism is different in females and males, yet research examining sex differences in core symptoms of autism in affected children has been limited. Additionally, to date, there have been no systematic attempts to characterize neuroanatomical differences underlying the distinct behavioral profiles observed in girls and boys with ASD. This is in part because extant ASD studies have included a small number of girls.

Methods: Leveraging the National Database for Autism Research (NDAR), we first analyzed symptom severity in a large sample consisting of 128 ASD girls and 614 age- and IQ-matched ASD boys. We then examined symptom severity and structural imaging data using novel multivariate pattern analysis in a well-matched group of 25 ASD girls, 25 ASD boys, 19 typically developing (TD) girls, and 19 TD boys, obtained from the Autism Brain Imaging Data Exchange (ABIDE).

Results: In both the NDAR and ABIDE datasets, girls, compared to boys, with ASD showed less severe repetitive/restricted behaviors (RRBs) and comparable deficits in the social and communication domains. In the ABIDE imaging dataset, gray matter (GM) patterns in the motor cortex, supplementary motor area (SMA), cerebellum, fusiform gyrus, and amygdala accurately discriminated girls and boys with ASD. This sex difference pattern was specific to ASD as the GM in these brain regions did not discriminate TD girls and boys. Moreover, GM in the motor cortex, SMA, and crus 1 subdivision of the cerebellum was correlated with RRB in girls whereas GM in the right putamen-the region that discriminated TD girls and boys-was correlated with RRB in boys.

Conclusions: We found robust evidence for reduced levels of RRB in girls, compared to boys, with ASD, providing the strongest evidence to date for sex differences in a core phenotypic feature of childhood ASD. Sex differences in brain morphometry are prominent in the motor system and in areas that comprise the "social brain." Notably, RRB severity is associated with sex differences in GM morphometry in distinct motor regions. Our findings provide novel insights into the neurobiology of sex differences in childhood autism.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus