Different aberrant mentalizing networks in males and females with autism spectrum disorders

evidence from resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging

Jie Yang*, Jonathan Lee

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Previous studies have found that individuals with autism spectrum disorders show impairments in mentalizing processes and aberrant brain activity compared with typically developing participants. However, the findings are mainly from male participants and the aberrant effects in autism spectrum disorder females and sex differences are still unclear. To address these issues, this study analyzed intrinsic functional connectivity of mentalizing regions using resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging data of 48 autism spectrum disorder males and females and 48 typically developing participants in autism brain imaging data exchange. Whole-brain analyses showed that autism spectrum disorder males had hyperconnectivity in functional connectivity of the bilateral temporal-parietal junction, whereas autism spectrum disorder females showed hypoconnectivity in functional connectivity of the medial prefrontal cortex, precuneus, and right temporal-parietal junction. Interaction between sex and autism was found in both short- and long-distance functional connectivity effects, confirming that autism spectrum disorder males showed overconnectivity, while autism spectrum disorder females showed underconnectivity. Furthermore, a regression analysis revealed that in autism spectrum disorder, males and females demonstrated different relations between the functional connectivity effects of the mentalizing regions and the core autism spectrum disorder deficits. These results suggest sex differences in the mentalizing network in autism spectrum disorder individuals. Future work is needed to examine how sex interacts with other factors such as age and the sex differences during mentalizing task performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)134-148
Number of pages15
JournalAutism
Volume22
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2018

Keywords

  • autism brain imaging data exchange
  • autism spectrum disorders
  • resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging
  • sex difference
  • the mentalizing system
  • DEFAULT MODE NETWORK
  • ACTIVATION
  • SOCIAL COGNITION
  • SELF
  • CONNECTIVITY
  • CORTEX
  • TEMPORO-PARIETAL JUNCTION
  • SEX-DIFFERENCES
  • BRAIN
  • FMRI

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