Cerebral volumetric abnormalities in Neurofibromatosis type 1: associations with parent ratings of social and attention problems, executive dysfunction, and autistic mannerisms
SourceJournal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders, 7, (2015), pp. 32
Article / Letter to editor
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Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders
SubjectRadboudumc 9: Rare cancers RIHS: Radboud Institute for Health Sciences
Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) is a single-gene neurodevelopmental disorder, in which social and cognitive problems are highly prevalent. Several commonly observed central nervous system (CNS) abnormalities in NF1 might underlie these social and cognitive problems. Cerebral volumetric abnormalities are among the most consistently observed CNS abnormalities in NF1. This study investigated whether differences were present between NF1 patients and healthy controls (HC) in volumetric measures of cortical and subcortical brain regions and whether differential associations existed for NF1 patients and HC between the volumetric measures and parent ratings of social skills, attention problems, social problems, autistic mannerisms, and executive dysfunction.Fifteen NF1 patients (mean age 12.9 years, SD 2.6) and 18 healthy controls (HC, mean age 13.8 years, SD 3.6) underwent 3 T MRI scanning. Segmentation of cortical gray and white matter, as well as volumetry of subcortical nuclei, was carried out. Voxel-based morphometry was performed to assess cortical gray matter density. Correlations were calculated, for NF1-patients and HC separately, between MRI parameters and scores on selected dimensions of the following behavior rating scales: the Social Skills Rating System, the Child Behavior Checklist, the Social Responsiveness Scale, the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Functioning, and the Dysexecutive Questionnaire.After correction for age, sex, and intracranial volume, larger volumes of all subcortical regions were found in NF1 patients compared to controls. Patients further showed decreased gray matter density in midline regions of the frontal and parietal lobes and larger total white matter volume. Significantly more social and attention problems, more autistic mannerisms, and poorer executive functioning were reported for NF1 patients compared to HC. In NF1 patients, larger left putamen volume and larger total white matter volume were associated with more social problems and poorer executive functioning, larger right amygdala volume with poorer executive functioning and autistic mannerisms, and smaller precentral gyrus gray matter density was associated with more social problems. In controls, only significant negative correlations were observed: larger volumes (and greater gray matter density) were associated with better outcomes.Widespread volumetric differences between patients and controls were found in cortical and subcortical brain regions. In NF1 patients but not HC, larger volumes were associated with poorer behavior ratings.
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