Surface-based morphometry of the cortical architecture of autism spectrum disorders: Volume, thickness, area, and gyrification

Academic Article


  • Structural neuroimaging studies of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have uncovered widespread neuroanatomical abnormalities, which may have a significant impact on brain function, connectivity, and on behavioral symptoms of autism. The findings of previous structural MRI studies have largely been distributed across several brain areas, with limited consistency. The current study examined neuroanatomical abnormalities by comparing surface-based measures of cortical morphology (CT: cortical thickness, CSA: cortical surface area, CV: cortical volume, and GI: gyrification index) in 55 high-functioning children and adults with ASD to 60 age-and-IQ-matched typically developing (TD) peers. A few brain areas, the fusiform gyrus (FG), middle temporal gyrus (MTG), and inferior frontal gyrus (IFG), emerged to be primarily different in their morphology between the two groups. Compared to TD participants, ASD participants had significantly smaller CV in left MTG, reduced CSA in bilateral MTG and FG, reduced GI in left supramarginal gyrus, and significantly increased CT in the pars opercularis of the IFG. As a function of age, ASD participants had significant reductions in: CT in the pars opercularis, CSA of the left rostral middle frontal gyrus, and GI for left supramarginal gyrus. Thus, alterations in cortical morphology in ASD were seen primarily in regions that are considered part of the social brain. Overall, these findings point to: neuroanatomical alterations in social brain areas, developmental differences in neuroanatomy, and the need to study neuroanatomy at multiple levels in order to better characterize the cortical architecture of ASD. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.
  • Authors

    Published In

  • Neuropsychologia  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Libero LE; DeRamus TP; Deshpande HD; Kana RK
  • Start Page

  • 1
  • End Page

  • 10
  • Volume

  • 62
  • Issue

  • 1