Disrupted Cerebro-cerebellar Intrinsic Functional Connectivity in Young Adults with High-functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Data-driven, Whole-brain, High Temporal Resolution fMRI Study.

Brain Connect. 2018 Jun 13;:

Authors: Arnold Anteraper S, Guell X, D’Mello A, Joshi N, Whitfield-Gabrieli S, Joshi G

OBJECTIVES: To examine the resting-state functional-connectivity (RsFc) in young adults with high-functioning autism spectrum disorder (HF-ASD) using state-of-the-art fMRI data acquisition and analysis techniques.
METHODS: Simultaneous multi-slice, high temporal resolution fMRI acquisition; unbiased whole-brain connectome-wide multivariate pattern analysis (MVPA) techniques for assessing RsFc; and post-hoc whole-brain seed-to-voxel analyses using MVPA results as seeds.
RESULTS: MVPA revealed two clusters of abnormal connectivity in the cerebellum. Whole-brain seed-based functional connectivity analyses informed by MVPA-derived clusters showed significant under connectivity between the cerebellum and social, emotional, and language brain regions in the HF-ASD group compared to healthy controls. The results we report are coherent with existing structural, functional, and RsFc literature in autism, extend previous literature reporting cerebellar abnormalities in the neuropathology of autism, and highlight the cerebellum as a potential target for therapeutic, diagnostic, predictive, and prognostic developments in ASD.
CONCLUSIONS: The description of functional connectivity abnormalities using whole-brain, data-driven analyses as reported in the present study may crucially advance the development of ASD biomarkers, targets for therapeutic interventions, and neural predictors for measuring treatment response.

PMID: 29896995 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]

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