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Fronto-striatal circuitry and inhibitory control in autism: Findings from diffusion tensor imaging tractography

Langen, Marieke, Leemans, Alexander, Johnston, Patrick, Ecker, Christine, Daly, Eileen, Murphy, Clodagh M., dell'Acqua, Flavio, Durston, Sarah and Murphy, Declan G. M. 2012. Fronto-striatal circuitry and inhibitory control in autism: Findings from diffusion tensor imaging tractography. Cortex 48 (2) , pp. 183-193. 10.1016/j.cortex.2011.05.018

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Abstract

Introduction Repetitive behaviour and inhibitory control deficits are core features of autism; and it has been suggested that they result from differences in the anatomy of striatum; and/or the ‘connectivity’ of subcortical regions to frontal cortex. There are few studies, however, that have measured the micro-structural organisation of white matter tracts connecting striatum and frontal cortex. Aims To investigate differences in bulk volume of striatum and micro-structural organisation of fronto-striatal white matter in people with autism; and their association with repetitive behaviour and inhibitory control. Methods We compared the bulk volume of striatum (caudate nucleus, putamen and nucleus accumbens) and white matter organisation of fronto-striatal tracts using (respectively) structural magnetic resonance imaging (sMRI) and tract specific diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) measures in 21 adults with autism and 22 controls. We also assessed performance on a cognitive inhibition (go/nogo) task. Results Bulk volume of striatal structures did not differ between groups. However, adults with autism had a significantly smaller total brain white matter volume, lower fractional anisotropy of white matter tracts connecting putamen to frontal cortical areas, higher mean diffusivity of white matter tracts connecting accumbens to frontal cortex and worse performance on the go/nogo task. Also, performance on the go/nogo task was significantly related to anatomical variation when both groups were combined; but not within the autism group alone. Conclusions These data suggest that autism may be associated with differences in the anatomy of fronto-striatal white matter tracts.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Cardiff University Brain Research Imaging Centre (CUBRIC)
Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Uncontrolled Keywords: Autism; sMRI; DTI; Fronto-striatal pathways; Inhibitory control
Publisher: Elsevier Masson
ISSN: 0010-9452
Last Modified: 12 Jun 2019 02:28
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/26795

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