Structure-function connectomics reveals aberrant developmental trajectory occurring at preadolescence in the autistic brain

Changchun He, Huafu Chen, Lucina Q. Uddin, Asier Erramuzpe, Paolo Bonifazi, Xiaonan Guo, Jinming Xiao, Heng Chen, Xinyue Huang, Lei Li, Wei Sheng, Wei Liao, Jesus M. Cortes, Xujun Duan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Accumulating neuroimaging evidence shows that age estimation obtained from brain connectomics reflects the level of brain maturation along with neural development. It is well known that autism spectrum disorder (ASD) alters neurodevelopmental trajectories of brain connectomics, but the precise relationship between chronological age (ChA) and brain connectome age (BCA) during development in ASD has not been addressed. This study uses neuroimaging data collected from 50 individuals with ASD and 47 age- and gender-matched typically developing controls (TDCs; age range: 5-18 years). Both functional and structural connectomics were assessed using resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging and diffusion tensor imaging data from the Autism Brain Imaging Data Exchange repository. For each participant, BCA was estimated from structure-function connectomics through linear support vector regression.We found that BCA matched well with ChA in TDC children and adolescents, but not in ASD. In particular, our findings revealed that individuals with ASD exhibited accelerated brain maturation in youth, followed by a delay of brain development starting at preadolescence. Our results highlight the critical role of BCA in understanding aberrant developmental trajectories in ASD and provide the new insights into the pathophysiological mechanisms of this disorder.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5028-5037
Number of pages10
JournalCerebral Cortex
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020


  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Brain connectivity
  • Brain connectome age
  • Diffusion tensor imaging
  • Resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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