Altered structure-function relations of semantic processing in youths with high-functioning autism: A combined diffusion and functional MRI study

Yu Chun Lo, Tai Li Chou, Li Ying Fan, Susan Shur Fen Gau, Yen Nan Chiu, Wen Yih Isaac Tseng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Deficits in language and communication are among the core symptoms of autism, a common neurodevelopmental disorder with long-term impairment. Despite the striking nature of the autistic language impairment, knowledge about its corresponding alterations in the brain is still evolving. We hypothesized that the dual stream language network is altered in autism, and that this alteration could be revealed by changes in the relationships between microstructural integrity and functional activation. The study recruited 20 right-handed male youths with autism and 20 carefully matched individually, typically developing (TD) youths. Microstructural integrity of the left dorsal and left ventral pathways responsible for language processing and the functional activation of the connected brain regions were investigated by using diffusion spectrum imaging and functional magnetic resonance imaging of a semantic task, respectively. Youths with autism had significantly poorer language function, and lower functional activation in left dorsal and left ventral regions of the language network, compared with TD youths. The TD group showed a significant correlation of the functional activation of the left dorsal region with microstructural integrity of the left ventral pathway, whereas the autism group showed a significant correlation of the functional activation of the left ventral region with microstructural integrity of the left dorsal pathway, and moreover verbal comprehension index was correlated with microstructural integrity of the left ventral pathway. These altered structure-function relationships in autism suggest possible involvement of the dual pathways in supporting deficient semantic processing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)561-570
Number of pages10
JournalAutism Research
Volume6
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013
Externally publishedYes

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Keywords

  • Autism
  • Diffusion spectrum imaging
  • Dual stream model
  • Functional MRI
  • Tractography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Genetics(clinical)

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