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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015, Article ID 174371, 10 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2015/174371
Research Article

Examination of Local Functional Homogeneity in Autism

Lili Jiang,1,2 Xiao-Hui Hou,1,2,3 Ning Yang,1,2,3 Zhi Yang,1,2 and Xi-Nian Zuo1,2,4

1Key Laboratory of Behavioral Science, Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, No. 16 Lincui Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100101, China
2Magnetic Resonance Imaging Research Center, Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, No. 16 Lincui Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100101, China
3University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shijingshan, Beijing 100049, China
4Laboratory for Functional Connectome and Development, Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, No. 16 Lincui Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100101, China

Received 11 July 2014; Accepted 9 October 2014

Academic Editor: Yu-Feng Zang

Copyright © 2015 Lili Jiang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Increasing neuroimaging evidence suggests that autism patients exhibit abnormal brain structure and function. We used the Autism Brain Imaging Data Exchange (ABIDE) sample to analyze locally focal (~8 mm) functional connectivity of 223 autism patients and 285 normal controls from 15 international sites using a recently developed surface-based approach. We observed enhanced local connectivity in the middle frontal cortex, left precuneus, and right superior temporal sulcus, and reduced local connectivity in the right insular cortex. The local connectivity in the right middle frontal gyrus was positively correlated with the total score of the autism diagnostic observation schedule whereas the local connectivity within the right superior temporal sulcus was positively correlated with total subscores of both the communication and the stereotyped behaviors and restricted interests of the schedule. Finally, significant interactions between age and clinical diagnosis were detected in the left precuneus. These findings replicated previous observations that used a volume-based approach and suggested possible neuropathological impairments of local information processing in the frontal, temporal, parietal, and insular cortices. Novel site-variability analysis demonstrated high reproducibility of our findings across the 15 international sites. The age-disease interaction provides a potential target region for future studies to further elucidate the neurodevelopmental mechanisms of autism.