Intrinsic functional connectivity variance and state-specific under-connectivity in autism

Heng Chen, Jason Nomi, Lucina Q Uddin, Xujun Duan, Huafu Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

26 Scopus citations


Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental condition associated with altered brain connectivity. Previous neuroimaging research demonstrates inconsistent results, particularly in studies of functional connectivity in ASD. Typically, these inconsistent findings are results of studies using static measures of resting-state functional connectivity. Recent work has demonstrated that functional brain connections are dynamic, suggesting that static connectivity metrics fail to capture nuanced time-varying properties of functional connections in the brain. Here we used a dynamic functional connectivity approach to examine the differences in the strength and variance of dynamic functional connections between individuals with ASD and healthy controls (HCs). The variance of dynamic functional connections was defined as the respective standard deviations of the dynamic functional connectivity strength across time. We utilized a large multicenter dataset of 507 male subjects (209 with ASD and 298 HC, from 6 to 36 years old) from the Autism Brain Imaging Data Exchange (ABIDE) to identify six distinct whole-brain dynamic functional connectivity states. Analyses demonstrated greater variance of widespread long-range dynamic functional connections in ASD (P < 0.05, NBS method) and weaker dynamic functional connections in ASD (P < 0.05, NBS method) within specific whole-brain connectivity states. Hypervariant dynamic connections were also characterized by weaker connectivity strength in ASD compared with HC. Increased variance of dynamic functional connections was also related to ASD symptom severity (ADOS total score) (P < 0.05), and was most prominent in connections related to the medial superior frontal gyrus and temporal pole. These results demonstrate that greater intraindividual dynamic variance is a potential biomarker of ASD. Hum Brain Mapp 38:5740–5755, 2017.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5740-5755
Number of pages16
JournalHuman Brain Mapping
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2017



  • autism spectrum disorder
  • dynamic functional connectivity
  • intraindividual variance
  • state-specific under-connectivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology

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