Maturational differences in thalamocortical white matter microstructure and auditory evoked response latencies in autism spectrum disorders

Brain Res. 2013 Nov 6;1537:79-85. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2013.09.011. Epub 2013 Sep 18.


White matter diffusion anisotropy in the acoustic radiations was characterized as a function of development in autistic and typically developing children. Auditory-evoked neuromagnetic fields were also recorded from the same individuals and the latency of the left and right middle latency superior temporal gyrus auditory ~50ms response (M50)(1) was measured. Group differences in structural and functional auditory measures were examined, as were group differences in associations between white matter pathways, M50 latency, and age. Acoustic radiation white matter fractional anisotropy did not differ between groups. Individuals with autism displayed a significant M50 latency delay. Only in typically developing controls, white matter fractional anisotropy increased with age and increased white matter anisotropy was associated with earlier M50 responses. M50 latency, however, decreased with age in both groups. Present findings thus indicate that although there is loss of a relationship between white matter structure and auditory cortex function in autism spectrum disorders, and although there are delayed auditory responses in individuals with autism than compared with age-matched controls, M50 latency nevertheless decreases as a function of age in autism, parallel to the observation in typically developing controls (although with an overall latency delay). To understand auditory latency delays in autism and changes in auditory responses as a function of age in controls and autism, studies examining white matter as well as other factors that influence auditory latency, such as synaptic transmission, are of interest.

Keywords: Auditory evoked response; Autism spectrum disorder; Fractional anisotropy; M50; Magnetoencephalography; White matter.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation / methods
  • Adolescent
  • Anisotropy
  • Auditory Pathways / physiopathology
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiopathology*
  • Child
  • Child Development / physiology*
  • Child Development Disorders, Pervasive / physiopathology*
  • Evoked Potentials, Auditory / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Magnetoencephalography / methods
  • Nerve Fibers, Myelinated / physiology