Publications by authors named "Maretha de Jonge"

38 Publications

Measurement invariance of the Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS) across six countries.

Autism Res 2021 Aug 4. Epub 2021 Aug 4.

Department of Women's and Children's Health, Skaraborgs Hospital, Skövde, Sweden.

The Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS) is a simple and inexpensive tool for Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) assessments, with evidenced psychometric data from different countries. However, it is still unclear whether ASD symptoms are measured the same way across different societies and world regions with this tool, since data on its cross-cultural validity are lacking. This study evaluated the cross-cultural measurement invariance of the CARS among children with ASD from six countries, for whom data were aggregated from previous studies in India (n = 101), Jamaica (n = 139), Mexico (n = 72), Spain (n = 99), Turkey (n = 150), and the United States of America (n = 186). We analyzed the approximate measurement invariance based on Bayesian structural equation modeling. The model did not fit the data and its measurement invariance did not hold, with all items found non-invariant across the countries. Items related to social communication and interaction (i.e., relating to people, imitation, emotional response, and verbal and nonverbal communication) displayed lower levels of cross-country non-invariance compared to items about stereotyped behaviors/sensory sensitivity (i.e., body and object use, adaptation to change, or taste, smell, and touch response). This study found that the CARS may not provide cross-culturally valid ASD assessments. Thus, cross-cultural comparisons with the CARS should consider first which items operate differently across samples of interest, since its cross-cultural measurement non-invariance could be a source of cross-cultural variability in ASD presentations. Additional studies are needed before drawing valid recommendations in relation to the cultural sensitivity of particular items.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/aur.2586DOI Listing
August 2021

Two-year-olds at elevated risk for ASD can learn novel words from their parents.

J Child Lang 2021 Jul 6:1-12. Epub 2021 Jul 6.

Experimental Psychology, Helmholtz Institute, Utrecht University, Netherlands.

Children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often have smaller vocabularies in infancy compared to typically-developing children. To understand whether their smaller vocabularies stem from problems in learning, our study compared a prospective risk sample of 18 elevated risk and 11 lower risk 24-month-olds on current vocabulary size and word learning ability using a paradigm in which parents teach their child words. Results revealed that both groups learned novel words, even though parents indicated that infants at elevated risk of ASD knew fewer words. This suggests that these early compromised vocabularies cannot be solely linked to difficulties in word formations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0305000921000428DOI Listing
July 2021

Effectiveness of a behavioral treatment protocol for selective mutism in children: Design of a randomized controlled trial.

Contemp Clin Trials Commun 2020 Sep 12;19:100644. Epub 2020 Aug 12.

Amsterdam UMC, University of Amsterdam, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Amsterdam Public Health, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Selective mutism (SM) is a relatively rare anxiety disorder, characterized by a child's consistent failure to speak in various specific social situations (e.g., at school), while being able to speak in other situations (e.g., at home). Prevalence rates vary from 0.2% to 1.9%. SM is usually identified between the ages of 3-5 years. It is often underdiagnosed and consequently children receive no or inadequate treatment, with negative consequences for school and social functioning. If left untreated, SM can result in complex, chronic anxiety and/or mood disorders in adolescence and impaired working careers in adulthood. Currently, no evidence-based treatment for SM is available in the Netherlands, therefore this study aims to [1] test the effectiveness of a treatment protocol for SM that is carried out at school, and to [2] identify baseline predictors for treatment success. This article presents the design of a randomized controlled trial into the effectiveness of a behavioral therapeutic protocol for selective mutism in children (age 3-18). The expected study population is n = 76. Results of the treatment group (n = 38) will be compared with those of a waiting list control group (WCG) (n = 38). Pre and post treatment assessments will be conducted at comparable moments in both groups, with baseline assessment at intake, the second assessment at 12 weeks and post-assessment at the end of treatment. If proven effective, we aim to structurally implement this protocol as evidence-based treatment for SM.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.conctc.2020.100644DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7451743PMC
September 2020

Is It Fear? Similar Brain Responses to Fearful and Neutral Faces in Infants with a Heightened Likelihood for Autism Spectrum Disorder.

J Autism Dev Disord 2021 Mar;51(3):961-972

Experimental Psychology, Helmholtz Institute, Utrecht University, Langeveld Building, Heidelberglaan 1, 3584 CS, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) show atypical processing of facial expressions. Research with autistic toddlers suggests that abnormalities in processing of spatial frequencies (SFs) contribute to such differences. The current event-related-potential (ERP) study investigated differences between 10-month-old infants with high- and low-likelihood for ASD in SF processing and in discrimination of fearful and neutral faces, filtered to contain specific SF. Results indicate no group differences in general processing of higher (HSF, detailed) and lower-SF (LSF, global) information. However, unlike low-likelihood infants, high-likelihood infants do not discriminate between facial expressions when either the LSF or HSF information is available. Combined with previous findings in toddlers, the current results indicate a developmental delay in efficient processing of facial expressions in ASD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10803-020-04560-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7954762PMC
March 2021

Serious Games as Potential Therapies: A Validation Study of a Neurofeedback Game.

Clin EEG Neurosci 2020 Mar 18;51(2):87-93. Epub 2019 Aug 18.

Department of Psychiatry, University Medical Center Utrecht Brain Center, Utrecht University, Utrecht, the Netherlands.

Serious (biofeedback) games offer promising ways to supplement or replace more expensive face-to-face interventions in health care. However, studies on the validity and effectiveness of EEG-based serious games remain scarce. In the current study, we investigated whether the conditions of the neurofeedback game "Daydream" indeed trained the brain activity as mentioned in the game manual. EEG activity was assessed in 14 healthy male volunteers while playing the 2 conditions of the game. The participants completed a training of 5 sessions. EEG frequency analyses were performed to verify the claims of the manual. We found significant differences in α- to β-ratio between the 2 conditions although only in the amplitude data, not in the power data. Within the conditions, mean α-amplitude only differed significantly from the β-amplitude in the concentration condition. Our analyses showed that neither α nor β brain activity differed significantly between game levels (higher level requiring increased brain activity) in either of the two conditions. In conclusion, we found only marginal evidence for the proposed claims stated in the manual of the game. Our research emphasizes that it is crucial to validate the claims that serious games make, especially before implementing them in the clinic or as therapeutic devices.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1550059419869471DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6963172PMC
March 2020

Paradoxical Benzodiazepine Response: A Rationale for Bumetanide in Neurodevelopmental Disorders?

Pediatrics 2015 Aug;136(2):e539-43

Department of Integrative Neurophysiology, Center for Neurogenomics and Cognitive Research, Neuroscience Campus Amsterdam, VU University Amsterdam, Netherlands.

The diuretic agent bumetanide has recently been put forward as a novel, promising treatment of behavioral symptoms in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and related conditions. Bumetanide can decrease neuronal chloride concentrations and may thereby reinstate γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA)-ergic inhibition in patients with neurodevelopmental disorders. However, strategies to select appropriate candidates for bumetanide treatment are lacking. We hypothesized that a paradoxical response to GABA-enforcing agents such as benzodiazepines may predict the efficacy of bumetanide treatment in neurodevelopmental disorders. We describe a case of a 10-year-old girl with ASD, epilepsy, cortical dysplasia, and a 15q11.2 duplication who had exhibited marked behavioral arousal after previous treatment with clobazam, a benzodiazepine. We hypothesized that this response indicated the presence of depolarizing excitatory GABA and started bumetanide treatment with monitoring of behavior, cognition, and EEG. The treatment resulted in a marked clinical improvement in sensory behaviors, rigidity, and memory performance, which was substantiated by questionnaires and cognitive assessments. At baseline, the girl's EEG showed a depression in absolute α power, an electrographic sign previously related to ASD, which was normalized with bumetanide treatment. The effects of bumetanide on cognition and EEG seemed to mirror the "nonparadoxical" responses to benzodiazepines in healthy subjects. In addition, temporal lobe epilepsy and cortical dysplasia have both been linked to disturbed chloride homeostasis and seem to support our assumption that the observed paradoxical response was due to GABA-mediated excitation. This case highlights that a paradoxical behavioral response to GABA-enforcing drugs may constitute a framework for targeted treatment with bumetanide.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1542/peds.2014-4133DOI Listing
August 2015

Stop and change: inhibition and flexibility skills are related to repetitive behavior in children and young adults with autism spectrum disorders.

J Autism Dev Disord 2015 Oct;45(10):3148-58

Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Brain Center Rudolf Magnus, University Medical Center Utrecht, Heidelberglaan 100, 3584 CX, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Cognitive control dysfunctions, like inhibitory and attentional flexibility deficits are assumed to underlie repetitive behavior in individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). In the present study, prepotent response inhibition and attentional flexibility were examined in 64 high-functioning individuals with ASD and 53 control participants. Performance under different task conditions were tested both in response to visual and auditory information, and requiring a motor or verbal response. Individuals with ASD showed significant more control dysfunctions than typically developing participants on the auditory computer task. Inhibitory control and attentional flexibility predicted RRB in everyday life. Specifically, response inhibition in reaction to visual information and task switching in reaction to auditory information predicted motor and sensory stereotyped behavior.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10803-015-2473-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4569655PMC
October 2015

New Interview and Observation Measures of the Broader Autism Phenotype: Description of Strategy and Reliability Findings for the Interview Measures.

Autism Res 2015 Oct 10;8(5):522-33. Epub 2015 May 10.

From University of Oxford Department of Psychiatry, UK.

Clinical genetic studies confirm the broader autism phenotype (BAP) in some relatives of individuals with autism, but there are few standardized assessment measures. We developed three BAP measures (informant interview, self-report interview, and impression of interviewee observational scale) and describe the development strategy and findings from the interviews. International Molecular Genetic Study of Autism Consortium data were collected from families containing at least two individuals with autism. Comparison of the informant and self-report interviews was restricted to samples in which the interviews were undertaken by different researchers from that site (251 UK informants, 119 from the Netherlands). Researchers produced vignettes that were rated blind by others. Retest reliability was assessed in 45 participants. Agreement between live scoring and vignette ratings was very high. Retest stability for the interviews was high. Factor analysis indicated a first factor comprising social-communication items and rigidity (but not other repetitive domain items), and a second factor comprised mainly of reading and spelling impairments. Whole scale Cronbach's alphas were high for both interviews. The correlation between interviews for factor 1 was moderate (adult items 0.50; childhood items 0.43); Kappa values for between-interview agreement on individual items were mainly low. The correlations between individual items and total score were moderate. The inclusion of several factor 2 items lowered the overall Cronbach's alpha for the total set. Both interview measures showed good reliability and substantial stability over time, but the findings were better for factor 1 than factor 2. We recommend factor 1 scores be used for characterising the BAP.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/aur.1466DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4690162PMC
October 2015

Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised (ADI-R) Algorithms for Toddlers and Young Preschoolers: Application in a Non-US Sample of 1,104 Children.

J Autism Dev Disord 2015 Jul;45(7):2076-91

Department of Psychiatry, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands,

The current study aimed to investigate the Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised (ADI-R) algorithms for toddlers and young preschoolers (Kim and Lord, J Autism Dev Disord 42(1):82-93, 2012) in a non-US sample from ten sites in nine countries (n = 1,104). The construct validity indicated a good fit of the algorithms. The diagnostic validity was lower, with satisfactorily high specificities but moderate sensitivities. Young children with clinical ASD and lower language ability were largely in the mild-to-moderate or moderate-to-severe concern ranges of the ADI-R, nearly half of the older and phrase speech ASD-group fell into the little-to-no concern range. Although broadly the findings support the toddler algorithms, further work is required to understand why they might have different properties in different samples to further inform research and clinical use.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10803-015-2372-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4471312PMC
July 2015

New interview and observation measures of the broader autism phenotype: group differentiation.

J Autism Dev Disord 2015 Apr;45(4):893-901

Department of Psychiatry, University Medical Center Utrecht, Room A01.468, Postbox 85500, 3508 GA, Utrecht, The Netherlands,

To identify the broader autism phenotype (BAP), the Family History Interview subject and informant versions and an observational tool (Impression of Interviewee), were developed. This study investigated whether the instruments differentiated between parents of children with autism, and parents of children with Down syndrome (DS). The BAP scores of parents of 28 multiplex autism families were compared with parents from, 32 DS families. The BAP measures provided good group differentiation but when considered together, the subject interview did not improve group differentiation. The differentiation was better for fathers than mothers. The measures do carry an important degree of validity; whether they can differentiate the BAP from other social disorders should be tested.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10803-014-2230-7DOI Listing
April 2015

Development of a Video-feedback Intervention to promote Positive Parenting for Children with Autism (VIPP-AUTI).

Attach Hum Dev 2014 ;16(4):343-55

a Division of Neuroscience, Brain Center Rudolf Magnus , University Medical Center Utrecht , Utrecht , The Netherlands.

In this paper we describe the development and content of Video-feedback Intervention to promote Positive Parenting for Children with Autism (VIPP-AUTI). VIPP-AUTI is an adapted version of the evidence-based intervention VIPP. The lack of social responsiveness in children with autism often lowers the quality of the parent-child interaction. A wide range of early interventions exist to cope with the disorder. The majority of early interventions for children with autism focus on their deficits of (social) skills, but the number of evidence-based interventions to improve early parent-child interaction patterns is limited. The aim of VIPP-AUTI is to enhance parental sensitivity to children's autistic characteristics, in order to improve child developmental outcome by increased parental support.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14616734.2014.912487DOI Listing
March 2015

Convergence of genes and cellular pathways dysregulated in autism spectrum disorders.

Am J Hum Genet 2014 May 24;94(5):677-94. Epub 2014 Apr 24.

Academic Centre on Rare Diseases, School of Medicine and Medical Science, University College Dublin, Dublin 4, Ireland; Children's University Hospital Temple Street, Dublin 1, Ireland.

Rare copy-number variation (CNV) is an important source of risk for autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). We analyzed 2,446 ASD-affected families and confirmed an excess of genic deletions and duplications in affected versus control groups (1.41-fold, p = 1.0 × 10(-5)) and an increase in affected subjects carrying exonic pathogenic CNVs overlapping known loci associated with dominant or X-linked ASD and intellectual disability (odds ratio = 12.62, p = 2.7 × 10(-15), ∼3% of ASD subjects). Pathogenic CNVs, often showing variable expressivity, included rare de novo and inherited events at 36 loci, implicating ASD-associated genes (CHD2, HDAC4, and GDI1) previously linked to other neurodevelopmental disorders, as well as other genes such as SETD5, MIR137, and HDAC9. Consistent with hypothesized gender-specific modulators, females with ASD were more likely to have highly penetrant CNVs (p = 0.017) and were also overrepresented among subjects with fragile X syndrome protein targets (p = 0.02). Genes affected by de novo CNVs and/or loss-of-function single-nucleotide variants converged on networks related to neuronal signaling and development, synapse function, and chromatin regulation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2014.03.018DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4067558PMC
May 2014

How to use the ADI-R for classifying autism spectrum disorders? Psychometric properties of criteria from the literature in 1,204 Dutch children.

J Autism Dev Disord 2013 Oct;43(10):2280-94

Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands,

The algorithm of the Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised provides criteria for autism versus non-autism according to DSM-IV. Criteria for the broader autism spectrum disorders are needed. This study investigated the validity of seven sets of criteria from the literature, in 1,204 Dutch children (aged 3-18 years) with and without mental retardation. The original criteria (Rutter et al. in ADI-R Autism Diagnostic Interview Revised. Manual. Western Psychological Services, Los Angeles, 2003) well discriminated ASD from non-ASD in MR. All other criteria (IMGSAC in Am Soc Hum Genet 69:570-581 2001; Sung et al. in Am J Hum Genet 76: 68-81, 2005; Risi et al. in J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 45: 1094-1103, 2006) were sensitive at the cost of specificity, bearing the risk of overinclusiveness. In the group without MR, clinicians should decide whether sensitivity or specificity is aimed for, to choose the appropriate criteria. Including the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule revised algorithms in the classification, the specificity increases, at the cost of sensitivity. This study adds to a more valid judgment on which criteria to use for specific objectives.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10803-013-1783-1DOI Listing
October 2013

No evidence that common genetic risk variation is shared between schizophrenia and autism.

Am J Med Genet B Neuropsychiatr Genet 2013 Jan 28;162B(1):55-60. Epub 2012 Nov 28.

Rudolf Magnus Institute of Neuroscience, Department of Psychiatry, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

The similarity between aspects of the clinical presentation of schizophrenia and autism spectrum disorders (ASD) suggests that elements of the biological etiology may also be shared between these two disorders. Recently, an increasing number of rare, mostly structural genetic variants are reported to increase the risk of both schizophrenia and ASD. We hypothesized that given this evidence for a shared genetic background based on rare genetic variants, common risk alleles may also be shared between ASD and schizophrenia. To test this hypothesis, the polygenic score, which summarizes the collective effect of a large number of common risk alleles, was used. We examined whether the polygenic score derived from a schizophrenia case-control dataset, previously reported by Purcell et al., was able to differentiate ASD cases from controls. The results demonstrate that the schizophrenia-derived polygenic score is not different between ASD cases and controls, indicating that there is no important sharing of common risk alleles between the two neuropsychiatric disorders. Possibly, common risk alleles are less important in ASD in comparison to their more prominent role in schizophrenia and bipolar disorders. These findings provide important novel insights into shared and distinct elements of the genetic architecture of autism and schizophrenia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajmg.b.32121DOI Listing
January 2013

Individual common variants exert weak effects on the risk for autism spectrum disorders.

Hum Mol Genet 2012 Nov 26;21(21):4781-92. Epub 2012 Jul 26.

Autism Genetics Group, Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, Trinity College, Dublin 8, Ireland.

While it is apparent that rare variation can play an important role in the genetic architecture of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), the contribution of common variation to the risk of developing ASD is less clear. To produce a more comprehensive picture, we report Stage 2 of the Autism Genome Project genome-wide association study, adding 1301 ASD families and bringing the total to 2705 families analysed (Stages 1 and 2). In addition to evaluating the association of individual single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), we also sought evidence that common variants, en masse, might affect the risk. Despite genotyping over a million SNPs covering the genome, no single SNP shows significant association with ASD or selected phenotypes at a genome-wide level. The SNP that achieves the smallest P-value from secondary analyses is rs1718101. It falls in CNTNAP2, a gene previously implicated in susceptibility for ASD. This SNP also shows modest association with age of word/phrase acquisition in ASD subjects, of interest because features of language development are also associated with other variation in CNTNAP2. In contrast, allele scores derived from the transmission of common alleles to Stage 1 cases significantly predict case status in the independent Stage 2 sample. Despite being significant, the variance explained by these allele scores was small (Vm< 1%). Based on results from individual SNPs and their en masse effect on risk, as inferred from the allele score results, it is reasonable to conclude that common variants affect the risk for ASD but their individual effects are modest.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/hmg/dds301DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3471395PMC
November 2012

A novel approach of homozygous haplotype sharing identifies candidate genes in autism spectrum disorder.

Hum Genet 2012 Apr 14;131(4):565-79. Epub 2011 Oct 14.

School of Medicine and Medical Science University College, Dublin, Ireland.

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a highly heritable disorder of complex and heterogeneous aetiology. It is primarily characterized by altered cognitive ability including impaired language and communication skills and fundamental deficits in social reciprocity. Despite some notable successes in neuropsychiatric genetics, overall, the high heritability of ASD (~90%) remains poorly explained by common genetic risk variants. However, recent studies suggest that rare genomic variation, in particular copy number variation, may account for a significant proportion of the genetic basis of ASD. We present a large scale analysis to identify candidate genes which may contain low-frequency recessive variation contributing to ASD while taking into account the potential contribution of population differences to the genetic heterogeneity of ASD. Our strategy, homozygous haplotype (HH) mapping, aims to detect homozygous segments of identical haplotype structure that are shared at a higher frequency amongst ASD patients compared to parental controls. The analysis was performed on 1,402 Autism Genome Project trios genotyped for 1 million single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). We identified 25 known and 1,218 novel ASD candidate genes in the discovery analysis including CADM2, ABHD14A, CHRFAM7A, GRIK2, GRM3, EPHA3, FGF10, KCND2, PDZK1, IMMP2L and FOXP2. Furthermore, 10 of the previously reported ASD genes and 300 of the novel candidates identified in the discovery analysis were replicated in an independent sample of 1,182 trios. Our results demonstrate that regions of HH are significantly enriched for previously reported ASD candidate genes and the observed association is independent of gene size (odds ratio 2.10). Our findings highlight the applicability of HH mapping in complex disorders such as ASD and offer an alternative approach to the analysis of genome-wide association data.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00439-011-1094-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3303079PMC
April 2012

Social Responsiveness Scale-aided analysis of the clinical impact of copy number variations in autism.

Neurogenetics 2011 Nov 12;12(4):315-23. Epub 2011 Aug 12.

Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, University Medical Centre, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Recent array-based studies have detected a wealth of copy number variations (CNVs) in patients with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Since CNVs also occur in healthy individuals, their contributions to the patient's phenotype remain largely unclear. In a cohort of children with symptoms of ASD, diagnosis of the index patient using ADOS-G and ADI-R was performed, and the Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS) was administered to the index patients, both parents, and all available siblings. CNVs were identified using SNP arrays and confirmed by FISH or array CGH. To evaluate the clinical significance of CNVs, we analyzed three families with multiple affected children (multiplex) and six families with a single affected child (simplex) in which at least one child carried a CNV with a brain-transcribed gene. CNVs containing genes that participate in pathways previously implicated in ASD, such as the phosphoinositol signaling pathway (PIK3CA, GIRDIN), contactin-based networks of cell communication (CNTN6), and microcephalin (MCPH1) were found not to co-segregate with ASD phenotypes. In one family, a loss of CNTN5 co-segregated with disease. This indicates that most CNVs may by themselves not be sufficient to cause ASD, but still may contribute to the phenotype by additive or epistatic interactions with inherited (transmitted) mutations or non-genetic factors. Our study extends the scope of genome-wide CNV profiling beyond de novo CNVs in sporadic patients and may aid in uncovering missing heritability in genome-wide screening studies of complex psychiatric disorders.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10048-011-0297-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3215885PMC
November 2011

Brief report: the dopamine-3-receptor gene (DRD3) is associated with specific repetitive behavior in autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

J Autism Dev Disord 2012 May;42(5):885-8

Karakter, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre (Cognitive Neuroscience), Reinierpostlaan 12, 6525 CG Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

Recently the DRD3 gene has been associated with ASD in two independent samples. Follow up analysis of the risk allele of the SNP rs167771 in 91 subjects revealed a significant association with a specific type of repetitive behavior: the factor "insistence on sameness" (IS) derived from the Autism Diagnostic Interview. This risk allele was associated with a decreased risk for IS, but not with any other symptomatology. Further study and replication of this finding is necessary, bearing in mind that these results would not be statistically significant if corrected for multiple testing.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10803-011-1312-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3324694PMC
May 2012

No association between a common single nucleotide polymorphism, rs4141463, in the MACROD2 gene and autism spectrum disorder.

Am J Med Genet B Neuropsychiatr Genet 2011 Sep 8;156B(6):633-9. Epub 2011 Jun 8.

Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College London, UK.

The Autism Genome Project (AGP) Consortium recently reported genome-wide significant association between autism and an intronic single nucleotide polymorphism marker, rs4141463, within the MACROD2 gene. In the present study we attempted to replicate this finding using an independent case-control design of 1,170 cases with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) (874 of which fulfilled narrow criteria for Autism (A)) from five centers within Europe (UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, and Iceland), and 35,307 controls. The combined sample size gave us a non-centrality parameter (NCP) of 11.9, with 93% power to detect allelic association of rs4141463 at an alpha of 0.05 with odds ratio of 0.84 (the best odds ratio estimate of the AGP Consortium data), and for the narrow diagnosis of autism, an NCP of 8.9 and power of 85%. Our case-control data were analyzed for association, stratified by each center, and the summary statistics were combined using the meta-analysis program, GWAMA. This resulted in an odds ratio (OR) of 1.03 (95% CI 0.944-1.133), with a P-value of 0.5 for ASD and OR of 0.99 (95% CI 0.88-1.11) with P-value = 0.85 for the Autism (A) sub-group. Therefore, this study does not provide support for the reported association between rs4141463 and autism.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajmg.b.31201DOI Listing
September 2011

A genome-wide scan for common alleles affecting risk for autism.

Hum Mol Genet 2010 Oct 27;19(20):4072-82. Epub 2010 Jul 27.

Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, Trinity College, Dublin 8, Ireland.

Although autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) have a substantial genetic basis, most of the known genetic risk has been traced to rare variants, principally copy number variants (CNVs). To identify common risk variation, the Autism Genome Project (AGP) Consortium genotyped 1558 rigorously defined ASD families for 1 million single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and analyzed these SNP genotypes for association with ASD. In one of four primary association analyses, the association signal for marker rs4141463, located within MACROD2, crossed the genome-wide association significance threshold of P < 5 × 10(-8). When a smaller replication sample was analyzed, the risk allele at rs4141463 was again over-transmitted; yet, consistent with the winner's curse, its effect size in the replication sample was much smaller; and, for the combined samples, the association signal barely fell below the P < 5 × 10(-8) threshold. Exploratory analyses of phenotypic subtypes yielded no significant associations after correction for multiple testing. They did, however, yield strong signals within several genes, KIAA0564, PLD5, POU6F2, ST8SIA2 and TAF1C.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/hmg/ddq307DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2947401PMC
October 2010

How useful is the Social Communication Questionnaire in toddlers at risk of autism spectrum disorder?

J Child Psychol Psychiatry 2010 Nov;51(11):1260-8

Karakter Child and Adolescent Psychiatry University Centre, Reinier Postlaan 12, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

Background: The Social Communication Questionnaire (SCQ) is a screening instrument with established validity against the Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised (ADI-R) in children aged 4 years and older. Indices of diagnostic accuracy have been shown to be strong in school-aged samples; however, relatively little is known about the performance of the SCQ in toddlers at risk of autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Methods: This study replicates and extends previous research by Corsello et al. (2007) in a comparatively large (N = 208), substantially younger (20-40 months) sample of children at high risk of ASD. The usefulness of the SCQ as a second-level screening instrument with different cut-off scores was evaluated in relation to IQ, age, and type of ASD diagnosis. The use of the SCQ as compared to the ADI-R was evaluated against clinical diagnosis, both alone and in combination with the ADOS.

Results: The SCQ with different cut-offs consistently showed an unsatisfactory balance between sensitivity and specificity in screening for ASD in high-risk toddlers, with only a few exceptions for specific age, IQ, or diagnostic groups. Even though the SCQ and ADI-R were highly correlated, diagnostic agreement with the best evidence clinical diagnosis was poor for both measures. The ADOS used alone consistently had the highest predictive value. For autism versus not-autism, the combined SCQ and ADOS performed as well as the ADOS alone and notably better than the combination ADI-R and ADOS.

Conclusions: The SCQ is likely to result in a number of false-positive findings, particularly in children with autism symptomatology, and the balance between sensitivity and specificity is poor. The ADOS should be considered the most valid and reliable diagnostic instrument in these very young at-risk children.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-7610.2010.02246.xDOI Listing
November 2010

Standardized ADOS scores: measuring severity of autism spectrum disorders in a Dutch sample.

J Autism Dev Disord 2011 Mar;41(3):311-9

Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, University Medical Center Groningen, Accare Groningen, PO Box 660, 9700 AR, Groningen, The Netherlands.

The validity of the calibrated severity scores on the ADOS as reported by Gotham et al. (J Autism Dev Disord 39: 693-705, 2009), was investigated in an independent sample of 1248 Dutch children with 1455 ADOS administrations (modules 1, 2 and 3). The greater comparability between ADOS administrations at different times, ages and in different modules, as reached by Gotham et al. with the calibrated severity measures, seems to be corroborated by the current study for module 1 and to a lesser extent for module 3. For module 2, the calibrated severity scores need to be further investigated within a sample that resembles Gotham's sample in age and level of verbal functioning.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10803-010-1057-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3040310PMC
March 2011

Functional impact of global rare copy number variation in autism spectrum disorders.

Nature 2010 Jul 9;466(7304):368-72. Epub 2010 Jun 9.

The Centre for Applied Genomics and Program in Genetics and Genomic Biology, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario M5G 1L7, Canada.

The autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are a group of conditions characterized by impairments in reciprocal social interaction and communication, and the presence of restricted and repetitive behaviours. Individuals with an ASD vary greatly in cognitive development, which can range from above average to intellectual disability. Although ASDs are known to be highly heritable ( approximately 90%), the underlying genetic determinants are still largely unknown. Here we analysed the genome-wide characteristics of rare (<1% frequency) copy number variation in ASD using dense genotyping arrays. When comparing 996 ASD individuals of European ancestry to 1,287 matched controls, cases were found to carry a higher global burden of rare, genic copy number variants (CNVs) (1.19 fold, P = 0.012), especially so for loci previously implicated in either ASD and/or intellectual disability (1.69 fold, P = 3.4 x 10(-4)). Among the CNVs there were numerous de novo and inherited events, sometimes in combination in a given family, implicating many novel ASD genes such as SHANK2, SYNGAP1, DLGAP2 and the X-linked DDX53-PTCHD1 locus. We also discovered an enrichment of CNVs disrupting functional gene sets involved in cellular proliferation, projection and motility, and GTPase/Ras signalling. Our results reveal many new genetic and functional targets in ASD that may lead to final connected pathways.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature09146DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3021798PMC
July 2010

Dissecting the clinical heterogeneity of autism spectrum disorders through defined genotypes.

PLoS One 2010 May 28;5(5):e10887. Epub 2010 May 28.

Department of Children and Adolescent Psychiatry, Rudolf Magnus Institute of Neuroscience, University Medical Centre Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Background: The etiology of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) is largely determined by different genetic factors of variable impact. This genetic heterogeneity could be a factor to explain the clinical heterogeneity of autism spectrum disorders. Here, a first attempt is made to assess whether genetically more homogeneous ASD groups are associated with decreased phenotypic heterogeneity with respect to their autistic symptom profile.

Methodology: The autistic phenotypes of ASD subjects with 22q11 deletion syndrome (22q11DS) and ASD subjects with Klinefelter Syndrome (KS) were statistically compared to the symptom profile of a large (genetically) heterogeneous ASD sample. Autism diagnostic interview-revised (ADI-R) variables were entered in different statistical analyses to assess differences in symptom homogeneity and the feasibility of discrimination of group-specific ASD-symptom profiles.

Principal Findings: The results showed substantially higher symptom homogeneity in both the genetic disorder ASD groups in comparison to the heterogeneous ASD sample. In addition, a robust discrimination between 22q11-ASD and KS-ASD and idiopathic ASD phenotypes was feasible on the basis of a reduced number of autistic scales and symptoms. The lack of overlap in discriminating subscales and symptoms between KS-ASD and 22q11DS-ASD suggests that their autistic symptom profiles cluster around different points in the total diagnostic space of profiles present in the general ASD population.

Conclusion: The findings of the current study indicate that the clinical heterogeneity of ASDs may be reduced when subgroups based on a specific genotype are extracted from the idiopathic ASD population. The current strategy involving the widely used ADI-R offers a relatively straightforward possibility for assessing genotype-phenotype ASD relationships. Reverse phenotype strategies are becoming more feasible, given the accumulating evidence for the existence of genetic variants of large effect in a substantial proportion of the ASD population.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0010887PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2878316PMC
May 2010

Characterization of a family with rare deletions in CNTNAP5 and DOCK4 suggests novel risk loci for autism and dyslexia.

Biol Psychiatry 2010 Aug 26;68(4):320-8. Epub 2010 Mar 26.

The Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom.

Background: Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are characterized by social, communication, and behavioral deficits and complex genetic etiology. A recent study of 517 ASD families implicated DOCK4 by single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) association and a microdeletion in an affected sibling pair.

Methods: The DOCK4 microdeletion on 7q31.1 was further characterized in this family using QuantiSNP analysis of 1M SNP array data and reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction. Extended family members were tested by polymerase chain reaction amplification of junction fragments. DOCK4 dosage was measured in additional samples using SNP arrays. Since QuantiSNP analysis identified a novel CNTNAP5 microdeletion in the same affected sibling pair, this gene was sequenced in 143 additional ASD families. Further polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis included 380 ASD cases and suitable control subjects.

Results: The maternally inherited microdeletion encompassed chr7:110,663,978-111,257,682 and led to a DOCK4-IMMP2L fusion transcript. It was also detected in five extended family members with no ASD. However, six of nine individuals with this microdeletion had poor reading ability, which prompted us to screen 606 other dyslexia cases. This led to the identification of a second DOCK4 microdeletion co-segregating with dyslexia. Assessment of genomic background in the original ASD family detected a paternal 2q14.3 microdeletion disrupting CNTNAP5 that was also transmitted to both affected siblings. Analysis of other ASD cohorts revealed four additional rare missense changes in CNTNAP5. No exonic deletions of DOCK4 or CNTNAP5 were seen in 2091 control subjects.

Conclusions: This study highlights two new risk factors for ASD and dyslexia and demonstrates the importance of performing a high-resolution assessment of genomic background, even after detection of a rare and likely damaging microdeletion using a targeted approach.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsych.2010.02.002DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2941017PMC
August 2010

Improved diagnostic validity of the ADOS revised algorithms: a replication study in an independent sample.

J Autism Dev Disord 2010 Jun;40(6):689-703

Karakter Child and Adolescent Psychiatry University Center, Reinier Postlaan 12, 6525 GC Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

Recently, Gotham et al. (2007) proposed revised algorithms for the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) with improved diagnostic validity. The aim of the current study was to replicate predictive validity, factor structure, and correlations with age and verbal and nonverbal IQ of the ADOS revised algorithms for Modules 1 and 2 in a large independent Dutch sample (N = 532). Results showed that the improvement of diagnostic validity was most apparent for autism, except in very young or low functioning children. Results for other autism spectrum disorders were less consistent. Overall, these findings support the use of the more homogeneous revised algorithms, with the use of similar items across developmental cells making it easier to compare ADOS scores within and between individuals.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10803-009-0915-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2864898PMC
June 2010

A co-segregating microduplication of chromosome 15q11.2 pinpoints two risk genes for autism spectrum disorder.

Am J Med Genet B Neuropsychiatr Genet 2010 Jun;153B(4):960-6

Department of Neuroscience and Pharmacology, Rudolf Magnus Institute of Neuroscience, UMC Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

High resolution genomic copy-number analysis has shown that inherited and de novo copy-number variations contribute significantly to autism pathology, and that identification of small chromosomal aberrations related to autism will expedite the discovery of risk genes involved. Here, we report a microduplication of chromosome 15q11.2, spanning only four genes, co-segregating with autism in a Dutch pedigree, identified by SNP microarray analysis, and independently confirmed by FISH and MLPA analysis. Quantitative RT-PCR analysis revealed over 70% increase in peripheral blood mRNA levels for the four genes present in the duplicated region in patients, and RNA in situ hybridization on mouse embryonic and adult brain sections revealed that two of the four genes, CYFIP1 and NIPA1, were highly expressed in the developing mouse brain. These findings point towards a contribution of microduplications at chromosome 15q11.2 to autism, and highlight CYFIP1 and NIPA1 as autism risk genes functioning in axonogenesis and synaptogenesis. Thereby, these findings further implicate defects in dosage-sensitive molecular control of neuronal connectivity in autism. However, the prevalence of this microduplication in patient samples was statistically not significantly different from control samples (0.94% in patients vs. 0.42% controls, P = 0.247), which suggests that our findings should be interpreted with caution and indicates the need for studies that include large numbers of control subjects to ascertain the impact of these changes on a population scale.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajmg.b.31055DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2933514PMC
June 2010

Gene-network analysis identifies susceptibility genes related to glycobiology in autism.

PLoS One 2009 May 28;4(5):e5324. Epub 2009 May 28.

Department of Neuroscience and Pharmacology, Rudolf Magnus Institute of Neuroscience, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

The recent identification of copy-number variation in the human genome has opened up new avenues for the discovery of positional candidate genes underlying complex genetic disorders, especially in the field of psychiatric disease. One major challenge that remains is pinpointing the susceptibility genes in the multitude of disease-associated loci. This challenge may be tackled by reconstruction of functional gene-networks from the genes residing in these loci. We applied this approach to autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and identified the copy-number changes in the DNA of 105 ASD patients and 267 healthy individuals with Illumina Humanhap300 Beadchips. Subsequently, we used a human reconstructed gene-network, Prioritizer, to rank candidate genes in the segmental gains and losses in our autism cohort. This analysis highlighted several candidate genes already known to be mutated in cognitive and neuropsychiatric disorders, including RAI1, BRD1, and LARGE. In addition, the LARGE gene was part of a sub-network of seven genes functioning in glycobiology, present in seven copy-number changes specifically identified in autism patients with limited co-morbidity. Three of these seven copy-number changes were de novo in the patients. In autism patients with a complex phenotype and healthy controls no such sub-network was identified. An independent systematic analysis of 13 published autism susceptibility loci supports the involvement of genes related to glycobiology as we also identified the same or similar genes from those loci. Our findings suggest that the occurrence of genomic gains and losses of genes associated with glycobiology are important contributors to the development of ASD.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0005324PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2683930PMC
May 2009

Evaluation of the ADOS revised algorithm: the applicability in 558 Dutch children and adolescents.

J Autism Dev Disord 2009 Sep 19;39(9):1350-8. Epub 2009 May 19.

Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, University Medical Centre Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands.

The revised ADOS algorithms, proposed by Gotham et al. (J Autism Dev Disord 37:613-627, 2007), were investigated in an independent sample of 558 Dutch children (modules 1, 2 and 3). The revised algorithms lead to better balanced sensitivity and specificity for modules 2 and 3, without losing efficiency of the classification. Including the restricted repetitive behaviour domain in the algorithm contributes to a clinical ASD classification in modules 2 and 3. For module 1, the results indicate less improvement, probably due to the low-functioning population. In most groups, the advantages of the revised algorithms are achieved without losing the strength of the original algorithm.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10803-009-0749-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2727366PMC
September 2009
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