Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) is a highly hereditary neuropsychiatric disorder. The dysfunction of structural connectivity of the brain may explain social communication impairment in ASD. However, very little is known how changes in the structural connectivity related to the social communication are related to variation in genotypes. Previous reports on ASD using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) have demonstrated alterations of brain structures. Recent advance in neuroimaging has shown that structural connectivity of a specific circuitry is superior to regional analysis in terms of higher penetrance of genetic effects and better account for behavioral variance. Therefore, it is plausible that connectivity imaging may serve as effective endophenotypes that link clinical manifestation and the biological variables. Moreover, there are few brain imaging studies that investigate the brain alteration in typical autism. therefore, the goal of this project is to validate structural connectivity of social communication as effective imaging endophenotypes of ASD. In this two-year project, we will include 25 adolescents with typical autism and 25 typical developing (TD) participants, age 10-16 years old. The examination includes behavior assessment (IQ test, neuropsychologial and clinical assessment), MRI study (structure MRI and diffusion imaging for structural connectivity) and genome scan (specifically candidate genes related to social communication, i.e. SLC25A12 and CNTNAP2). In the first year, we will demonstrate that structural connectivity related to the social communication is indeed different between groups of adolescents with typical autism and typical developing (TD) participants. We will also demonstrate in typical autism that the altered structural connectivity related to social communication impairments are indeed different in carriers of risk genes, i.e. CNTNAP2 and SLC25A12. We will demonstrate in all participants that the structural connectivites are associated with the corresponding behavioral variances in social communication function. In the second year, the intervention of “Treatment and Education of Autistic and Communication Handicapped children, TEACCH” will impose on the participants with typical autism. We will demonstrate the difference of the structural connectivity of the social communication before and after intervention in the typical autism group. In conclusion, the success of this project will facilitate the population of ASD and demonstrate the intervention will change the structural connectivity.
|Effective start/end date||8/1/16 → 7/31/17|