Altered structural brain asymmetry in autism spectrum disorder in a study of 54 datasets
Postema MC., van Rooij D., Anagnostou E., Arango C., Auzias G., Behrmann M., Filho GB., Calderoni S., Calvo R., Daly E., Deruelle C., Di Martino A., Dinstein I., Duran FLS., Durston S., Ecker C., Ehrlich S., Fair D., Fedor J., Feng X., Fitzgerald J., Floris DL., Freitag CM., Gallagher L., Glahn DC., Gori I., Haar S., Hoekstra L., Jahanshad N., Jalbrzikowski M., Janssen J., King JA., Kong XZ., Lazaro L., Lerch JP., Luna B., Martinho MM., McGrath J., Medland SE., Muratori F., Murphy CM., Murphy DGM., O’Hearn K., Oranje B., Parellada M., Puig O., Retico A., Rosa P., Rubia K., Shook D., Taylor MJ., Tosetti M., Wallace GL., Zhou F., Thompson PM., Fisher SE., Buitelaar JK., Francks C.
© 2019, The Author(s). Altered structural brain asymmetry in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has been reported. However, findings have been inconsistent, likely due to limited sample sizes. Here we investigated 1,774 individuals with ASD and 1,809 controls, from 54 independent data sets of the ENIGMA consortium. ASD was significantly associated with alterations of cortical thickness asymmetry in mostly medial frontal, orbitofrontal, cingulate and inferior temporal areas, and also with asymmetry of orbitofrontal surface area. These differences generally involved reduced asymmetry in individuals with ASD compared to controls. Furthermore, putamen volume asymmetry was significantly increased in ASD. The largest case-control effect size was Cohen’s d = −0.13, for asymmetry of superior frontal cortical thickness. Most effects did not depend on age, sex, IQ, severity or medication use. Altered lateralized neurodevelopment may therefore be a feature of ASD, affecting widespread brain regions with diverse functions. Large-scale analysis was necessary to quantify subtle alterations of brain structural asymmetry in ASD.