Cortical sulcal maps in autism.

TitleCortical sulcal maps in autism.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2003
AuthorsLevitt, JG, Blanton RE, Smalley S, Thompson PM, Guthrie D, McCracken JT, Sadoun T, Heinichen L, Toga AW
JournalCerebral cortex (New York, N.Y. : 1991)
Date Published2003 Jul
KeywordsAutistic Disorder, cerebral cortex, Child, Humans, Imaging, Three-Dimensional, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Single-Blind Method

This study presents the first three-dimensional mapping of cortical sulcal patterns in autism, a pervasive developmental disorder, the underlying neurobiology of which remains unknown. High-resolution T(1)-weighted MRI scans were acquired in 21 autistic (age 10.7 +/- 3.1 years) and 20 normal control (age 11.3 +/- 2.9) children and adolescents. Using parametric mesh-based analytic techniques, we created three-dimensional models of the cerebral cortex and detailed maps of 22 major sulci in stereotaxic space. These average maps revealed anatomic shifting of major sulci primarily in frontal and temporal areas. Specifically, we found anterior and superior shifting of the superior frontal sulci bilaterally (P < or = 0.0003), anterior shifting of the right Sylvian fissure (P = 0.0002), the superior temporal sulcus (P = 0.0006 right, P = 0.02 left) and the left inferior frontal sulcus (P < or = 0.002) in the autistic group relative to the normal group. Less significant sulcal shifts occurred in the intraparietal and collateral sulci. These findings may indicate delayed maturation in autistic subjects in these brain regions involved in functions including working memory, emotion processing, language and eye gaze.

Alternate JournalCereb. Cortex