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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 brain morphometry in childhood autism. Girls and boys with ASD showed significant differences in brain structure. Notably, brain areas which showed sex differences in ASD fell into two general functional systems: the motor system and systems that form part of the “social brain.” These brain areas include the left motor cortex, left SMA, left lingual/fusiform gyrus, left angular gyrus, right insula, bilateral cerebellum, and bilateral amygdala. They showed high classification accuracies (CA > 85 %) for distinguishing girls from boys with ASD. CA value given for a set of contiguous voxels corresponds to the highest classification accuracy among those voxels
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Fig2: Sex differences in brain morphometry in childhood autism. Girls and boys with ASD showed significant differences in brain structure. Notably, brain areas which showed sex differences in ASD fell into two general functional systems: the motor system and systems that form part of the “social brain.” These brain areas include the left motor cortex, left SMA, left lingual/fusiform gyrus, left angular gyrus, right insula, bilateral cerebellum, and bilateral amygdala. They showed high classification accuracies (CA > 85 %) for distinguishing girls from boys with ASD. CA value given for a set of contiguous voxels corresponds to the highest classification accuracy among those voxels

Mentions: Using MVPA analysis (Additional file 2: Figure S1), we found that the GM in several cortical and subcortical regions could differentiate girls and boys with ASD. Notably, GM volume in the left motor cortex, left supplementary motor area (SMA), left lingual/fusiform gyrus, left angular gyrus, right insula, bilateral cerebellum, and bilateral amygdala (height p < 0.001, FWE corrected, extent p < 0.01; Table 2) showed high accuracies (85–90 %) for distinguishing girls from boys with ASD (Fig. 2).Table 2


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 brain morphometry in childhood autism. Girls and boys with ASD showed significant differences in brain structure. Notably, brain areas which showed sex differences in ASD fell into two general functional systems: the motor system and systems that form part of the “social brain.” These brain areas include the left motor cortex, left SMA, left lingual/fusiform gyrus, left angular gyrus, right insula, bilateral cerebellum, and bilateral amygdala. They showed high classification accuracies (CA > 85 %) for distinguishing girls from boys with ASD. CA value given for a set of contiguous voxels corresponds to the highest classification accuracy among those voxels
© Copyright Policy - OpenAccess
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

Fig2: Sex differences in brain morphometry in childhood autism. Girls and boys with ASD showed significant differences in brain structure. Notably, brain areas which showed sex differences in ASD fell into two general functional systems: the motor system and systems that form part of the “social brain.” These brain areas include the left motor cortex, left SMA, left lingual/fusiform gyrus, left angular gyrus, right insula, bilateral cerebellum, and bilateral amygdala. They showed high classification accuracies (CA > 85 %) for distinguishing girls from boys with ASD. CA value given for a set of contiguous voxels corresponds to the highest classification accuracy among those voxels
Mentions: Using MVPA analysis (Additional file 2: Figure S1), we found that the GM in several cortical and subcortical regions could differentiate girls and boys with ASD. Notably, GM volume in the left motor cortex, left supplementary motor area (SMA), left lingual/fusiform gyrus, left angular gyrus, right insula, bilateral cerebellum, and bilateral amygdala (height p < 0.001, FWE corrected, extent p < 0.01; Table 2) showed high accuracies (85–90 %) for distinguishing girls from boys with ASD (Fig. 2).Table 2

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