The Development of Brain Network in Males with Autism Spectrum Disorders from Childhood to Adolescence: Evidence from fNIRS Study

Wei Cao, Huilin Zhu, Yan Li, Yu Wang, Wuxia Bai, Uchong Lao, Yingying Zhang, Yan Ji, Sailing He, Xiaobing Zou
Brain Sciences 2021 January 18, 11 (1)
In the current study, functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) was used to collect resting-state signals from 77 males with autism spectrum disorders (ASD, age: 6~16.25) and 40 typically developing (TD) males (age: 6~16.58) in the theory-of-mind (ToM) network. The graph theory analysis was used to obtain the brain network properties in ToM network, and the multiple regression analysis demonstrated that males with ASD showed a comparable global network topology, and a similar age-related decrease in the medial prefrontal cortex area (mPFC) compared to TD individuals. Nevertheless, participants with ASD showed U-shaped trajectories of nodal metrics of right temporo-parietal junction (TPJ), and an age-related decrease in the left middle frontal gyrus (MFG), while trajectories of TD participants were opposite. The nodal metrics of the right TPJ was negatively associated with the social deficits of ASD, while the nodal metrics of the left MFG was negatively associated with the communication deficits of ASD. Current findings suggested a distinct developmental trajectory of the ToM network in males with ASD from childhood to adolescence.

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