Decreased structural connectivity and resting-state brain activity in the lateral occipital cortex is associated with social communication deficits in boys with autism spectrum disorder

Neuroimage. 2019 Apr 15;190:205-212. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2017.09.031. Epub 2017 Sep 18.


Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a prevalent neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by atypical social communication and repetitive behaviors. In this study, we applied a multimodal approach to investigate brain structural connectivity, resting state activity, and surface area, as well as their associations with the core symptoms of ASD. Data from forty boys with ASD (mean age, 11.5 years; age range, 5.5-19.5) and forty boys with typical development (TD) (mean age, 12.3; age range, 5.8-19.7) were extracted from the Autism Brain Imaging Data Exchange II (ABIDE II) for data analysis. We found significantly decreased structural connectivity, resting state brain activity, and surface area at the occipital cortex in boys with ASD compared to boys with TD. In addition, we found that resting state brain activity and surface area in the lateral occipital cortex was negatively correlated with communication scores in boys with ASD. Our results suggest that decreased structural connectivity and resting-state brain activity in the occipital cortex may impair the integration of verbal and non-verbal communication cues in boys with ASD, thereby impacting their social development.

Keywords: Autism; DTI; Lateral occipital cortex; Resting-state fMRI; Surface area; fALFF.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder / diagnostic imaging
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder / etiology
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder / pathology*
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder / physiopathology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Connectome*
  • Diffusion Tensor Imaging*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Occipital Lobe / diagnostic imaging
  • Occipital Lobe / pathology*
  • Occipital Lobe / physiopathology*
  • Social Communication Disorder / diagnostic imaging
  • Social Communication Disorder / etiology
  • Social Communication Disorder / pathology*
  • Social Communication Disorder / physiopathology*
  • Young Adult