Resting-State fMRI Networks in Children with Tuberous Sclerosis Complex

J Neuroimaging. 2019 Nov;29(6):750-759. doi: 10.1111/jon.12653. Epub 2019 Jul 14.


Background and purpose: There are no published studies examining resting state networks (RSNs) and their relationship with neurodevelopmental metrics in tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC). We aimed to identify major resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI) networks in infants with TSC and correlate network analyses with neurodevelopmental assessments, autism diagnosis, and seizure history.

Methods: Rs-fMRI data from 34 infants with TSC, sedated with propofol during the scan, were analyzed to identify auditory, motor, and visual RSNs. We examined the correlations between auditory, motor, and visual RSNs at approximately 11.5 months, neurodevelopmental outcome at approximately 18.5 months, and diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders at approximately 36 months of age.

Results: RSNs were obtained in 76.5% (26/34) of infants. We observed significant negative correlations between auditory RSN and auditory comprehension test scores (p = .038; r = -.435), as well as significant positive correlations between motor RSN and gross motor skills test scores (p = .023; r = .564). Significant positive correlations between motor RSNs and gross motor skills (p = .012; r = .754) were observed in TSC infants without autism, but not in TSC infants with autism, which could suggest altered motor processing. There were no significant differences in RSNs according to seizure history.

Conclusions: Negative correlation between auditory RSN, as well as positive correlation between motor RSN and developmental outcome measures might reflect different brain mechanisms and, when identified, may be helpful in predicting later function. A larger study of TSC patients with a healthy control group is needed before auditory and motor RSNs could be considered as neurodevelopmental outcome biomarkers.

Keywords: Autism spectrum disorders; propofol; resting state functional resonance imaging; resting state networks; tuberous sclerosis complex.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder / diagnosis*
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging*
  • Brain Mapping / methods
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Functional Neuroimaging
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Nerve Net / diagnostic imaging*
  • Tuberous Sclerosis / diagnostic imaging*