Neural correlates of language variability in preschool-aged boys with autism spectrum disorder

Letitia R. Naigles, Ryan Johnson, Ann M Mastergeorge, Sally Ozonoff, Sally J. Rogers, David G. Amaral, Christine Wu Nordahl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Children with autism vary widely in their language abilities, yet the neural correlates of this language variability remain unclear, especially early in development. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) was used to examine diffusivity measures along the length of 18 major fiber tracts in 104 preschool-aged boys with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The boys were assigned to subgroups according to their level of language development (Low: no/low language, Middle: small vocabulary, High: large vocabulary and grammar), based on their raw scores on the expressive language (EL) and receptive language (RL) sections of the Mullen Scales of Early Learning (MSEL). Results indicate that the subgroups differed in fractional anisotropy (FA), mean diffusivity (MD), and radial diffusivity (RD) along the inferior longitudinal fasciculus (ILF) in both hemispheres. Moreover, FA correlated significantly with Mullen EL and RL raw scores, but not ADOS severity score, along the left and right ILF. Subgroups also differed in MD (but not FA) along the left superior longitudinal fasiculus and left corticospinal tract, but these differences were not correlated with language scores. These findings suggest that white matter microstructure in the left and right ILF varies in relation to lexical development in young males with ASD. The findings also support the use of raw scores on language-relevant standardized tests for assessing early language-brain relationships.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAutism Research
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2017
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Language
Anisotropy
Vocabulary
Autism Spectrum Disorder
Pyramidal Tracts
Language Development
Diffusion Tensor Imaging
Aptitude
Autistic Disorder
Learning
Brain

Keywords

  • Brain imaging
  • DTI
  • Language development
  • Preschoolers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Genetics(clinical)

Cite this

Naigles, L. R., Johnson, R., Mastergeorge, A. M., Ozonoff, S., Rogers, S. J., Amaral, D. G., & Nordahl, C. W. (Accepted/In press). Neural correlates of language variability in preschool-aged boys with autism spectrum disorder. Autism Research. https://doi.org/10.1002/aur.1756

Neural correlates of language variability in preschool-aged boys with autism spectrum disorder. / Naigles, Letitia R.; Johnson, Ryan; Mastergeorge, Ann M; Ozonoff, Sally; Rogers, Sally J.; Amaral, David G.; Nordahl, Christine Wu.

In: Autism Research, 2017.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Naigles, Letitia R. ; Johnson, Ryan ; Mastergeorge, Ann M ; Ozonoff, Sally ; Rogers, Sally J. ; Amaral, David G. ; Nordahl, Christine Wu. / Neural correlates of language variability in preschool-aged boys with autism spectrum disorder. In: Autism Research. 2017.
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