Brain Res 2010 Mar 4;1321:169-79. Epub 2010 Jan 4.
Department of Diagnostic Radiology, University Hospital of Oulu, PO Box 50, 90029 Oulu, Finland.
Measures assessing resting-state brain activity with blood oxygen level dependent (BOLD) functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) can reveal cognitive disorders at an early stage. Analysis of regional homogeneity (ReHo) measures the local synchronization of spontaneous fMRI signals and has been successfully utilized in detecting alterations in subjects with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), depression, schizophrenia, Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's dementia. Resting-state brain activity was investigated in 28 adolescents with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and 27 typically developing controls being imaged with BOLD fMRI and analyzed with the ReHo method. The hypothesis was that ReHo of resting-state brain activity would be different between ASD subjects and controls in brain areas previously shown to display functional alterations in stimulus or task based fMRI studies. Compared with the controls, the subjects with ASD had significantly decreased ReHo in right superior temporal sulcus region, right inferior and middle frontal gyri, bilateral cerebellar crus I, right insula and right postcentral gyrus. Significantly increased ReHo was discovered in right thalamus, left inferior frontal and anterior subcallosal gyrus and bilateral cerebellar lobule VIII. We conclude that subjects with ASD have right dominant ReHo alterations of resting-state brain activity, i.e., areas known to exhibit abnormal stimulus or task related functionality. Our results demonstrate that there is potential in utilizing the ReHo method in fMRI analyses of ASD.