Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
, 2 (8), 644-654

Disorder-Specific and Shared Brain Abnormalities During Vigilance in Autism and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Affiliations

Disorder-Specific and Shared Brain Abnormalities During Vigilance in Autism and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Christina O Carlisi et al. Biol Psychiatry Cogn Neurosci Neuroimaging.

Abstract

Background: Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) are often comorbid and share similarities across some cognitive phenotypes, including certain aspects of attention. However, no functional magnetic resonance imaging studies have compared the underlying neural mechanisms contributing to these shared phenotypes.

Methods: Age- and IQ-matched boys (11-17 years old) with ASD (n = 20), boys with OCD (n = 20), and healthy control boys (n = 20) performed a parametrically modulated psychomotor vigilance functional magnetic resonance imaging task. Brain activation and performance were compared among adolescents with OCD, adolescents with ASD, and control adolescents.

Results: Whereas boys with ASD and OCD were not impaired on task performance, there was a significant group by attention load interaction in several brain regions. With increasing attention load, left inferior frontal cortex/insula and left inferior parietal lobe/pre/post-central gyrus were progressively less activated in boys with OCD relative to the other two groups. In addition, boys with OCD showed progressively increased activation with increasing attention load in rostromedial prefrontal/anterior cingulate cortex relative to boys with ASD and control boys. Shared neurofunctional abnormalities between boys with ASD and boys with OCD included increased activation with increasing attention load in cerebellum and occipital regions, possibly reflecting increased default mode network activation.

Conclusions: This first functional magnetic resonance imaging study to compare boys with ASD and OCD showed shared abnormalities in posterior cerebellar-occipital brain regions. However, boys with OCD showed a disorder-specific pattern of reduced activation in left inferior frontal and temporo-parietal regions but increased activation of medial frontal regions, which may potentially be related to neurobiological mechanisms underlying cognitive and clinical phenotypes of OCD.

Keywords: ASD; Adolescence; Attention; OCD; Vigilance; fMRI.

Figures

Figure 1.
Figure 1
Between-group differences in brain activation among healthy control (HC) boys, boys with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and boys with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Analysis of variance shows the main effect of group on brain activation for all delays (2, 5, and 8 seconds) combined, contrasted against 0.5-second trials. Talairach z coordinates are shown for slice distance (in mm) from the intercommissural line. The right side corresponds with the right side of the brain. **p < .005, ***p < .001. BOLD, blood oxygen--level dependent; IFG, inferior frontal gyrus; L, left; MTL, middle temporal lobe; PCC, posterior cingulate cortex; R, right; STL, superior temporal lobe.
Figure 2.
Figure 2
Group by delay interaction among healthy control boys, boys with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and boys with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and delay condition (2, 5, or 8 seconds). Analysis of variance shows group by delay interaction effects on brain activation. Talairach z coordinates are shown for slice distance (in mm) from the intercommissural line. The right side corresponds with the right side of the brain. Red asterisks indicate significant difference between diagnostic group and control boys. Black asterisks indicate significant difference within group between conditions. *p < .05, **p < .005. ACC, anterior cingulate cortex; BOLD, blood oxygen--level dependent; IFG, inferior frontal gyrus; IPL, inferior parietal lobe; L, left; MTL, middle temporal lobe; rmPFC, rostromedial prefrontal cortex; STL, superior temporal lobe.

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 8 articles

See all "Cited by" articles

References

    1. American Psychiatric Association . Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th ed. American Psychiatric Publishing; Arlington, VA: 2013.
    1. Blumberg S.J., Bramlett M.D., Kogan M.D., Schieve L.A., Jones J.R., Lu M.C. Changes in prevalence of parent-reported autism spectrum disorder in school-aged US children: 2007 to 2011–2012. Natl Health Stat Rep. 2013;65:1–7.
    1. Ruscio A., Stein D., Chiu W., Kessler R. The epidemiology of obsessive–compulsive disorder in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication. Mol Psychiatry. 2010;15:53–63. - PMC - PubMed
    1. Leyfer O., Folstein S., Bacalman S., Davis N., Dinh E., Morgan J. Comorbid psychiatric disorders in children with autism: Interview development and rates of disorders. J Autism Dev Disord. 2006;36:849–861. - PubMed
    1. Ivarsson T., Melin K. Autism spectrum traits in children and adolescents with obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) J Anxiety Disord. 2008;22:969–978. - PubMed
Feedback