Diffusion Tensor Imaging Abnormalities in the Uncinate Fasciculus and Inferior Longitudinal Fasciculus in Phelan-McDermid Syndrome

Academic Article


  • Background: This cohort study utilized diffusion tensor imaging tractography to compare the uncinate fasciculus and inferior longitudinal fasciculus in children with Phelan-McDermid syndrome with age-matched controls and investigated trends between autism spectrum diagnosis and the integrity of the uncinate fasciculus and inferior longitudinal fasciculus white matter tracts. Methods: This research was conducted under a longitudinal study that aims to map the genotype, phenotype, and natural history of Phelan-McDermid syndrome and identify biomarkers using neuroimaging (ClinicalTrial NCT02461420). Patients were aged three to 21 years and underwent longitudinal neuropsychologic assessment over 24 months. MRI processing and analyses were completed using previously validated image analysis software distributed as the Computational Radiology Kit (http://crl.med.harvard.edu/). Whole-brain connectivity was generated for each subject using a stochastic streamline tractography algorithm, and automatically defined regions of interest were used to map the uncinate fasciculus and inferior longitudinal fasciculus. Results: There were 10 participants (50% male; mean age 11.17 years) with Phelan-McDermid syndrome (n = 8 with autism). Age-matched controls, enrolled in a separate longitudinal study (NIH R01 NS079788), underwent the same neuroimaging protocol. There was a statistically significant decrease in the uncinate fasciculus fractional anisotropy measure and a statistically significant increase in uncinate fasciculus mean diffusivity measure, in the patient group versus controls in both right and left tracts (P ≤ 0.024). Conclusion: Because the uncinate fasciculus plays a critical role in social and emotional interaction, this tract may underlie some deficits seen in the Phelan-McDermid syndrome population. These findings need to be replicated in a larger cohort.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Bassell J; Srivastava S; Prohl AK; Scherrer B; Kapur K; Filip-Dhima R; Berry-Kravis E; Soorya L; Thurm A; Powell CM
  • Start Page

  • 24
  • End Page

  • 31
  • Volume

  • 106