Response Monitoring, Repetitive Behaviour and Anterior Cingulate Abnormalities in Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)


Show simple item record Thakkar, Katharine N. en_US Polli, Frida E. en_US Joseph, Robert M. en_US Tuch, David S. en_US Hadjikhani, Nouchine en_US Barton, Jason J.S. en_US Manoach, Dara S. en_US 2012-01-11T23:13:27Z 2012-01-11T23:13:27Z 2008 en_US 2008-6-11 en_US
dc.identifier.citation Thakkar, Katharine N., Frida E. Polli, Robert M. Joseph, David S. Tuch, Nouchine Hadjikhani, Jason J.S. Barton, Dara S. Manoach. "Response monitoring, repetitive behaviour and anterior cingulate abnormalities in autism spectrum disorders (ASD)" Brain 131(9): 2464-2478. (2008) en_US
dc.identifier.issn 1460-2156 en_US
dc.description.abstract Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are characterized by inflexible and repetitive behaviour. Response monitoring involves evaluating the consequences of behaviour and making adjustments to optimize outcomes. Deficiencies in this function, and abnormalities in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) on which it relies, have been reported as contributing factors to autistic disorders. We investigated whether ACC structure and function during response monitoring were associated with repetitive behaviour in ASD. We compared ACC activation to correct and erroneous antisaccades using rapid presentation event-related functional MRI in 14 control and ten ASD participants. Because response monitoring is the product of coordinated activity in ACC networks, we also examined the microstructural integrity of the white matter (WM) underlying this brain region using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) measures of fractional anisotropy (FA) in 12 control and 12 adult ASD participants. ACC activation and FA were examined in relation to Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised ratings of restricted and repetitive behaviour. Relative to controls, ASD participants: (i) made more antisaccade errors and responded more quickly on correct trials; (ii) showed reduced discrimination between error and correct responses in rostral ACC (rACC), which was primarily due to (iii) abnormally increased activation on correct trials and (iv) showed reduced FA in WM underlying ACC. Finally, in ASD (v) increased activation on correct trials and reduced FA in rACC WM were related to higher ratings of repetitive behaviour. These findings demonstrate functional and structural abnormalities of the ACC in ASD that may contribute to repetitive behaviour. rACC activity following errors is thought to reflect affective appraisal of the error. Thus, the hyperactive rACC response to correct trials can be interpreted as a misleading affective signal that something is awry, which may trigger repetitive attempts at correction. Another possible consequence of reduced affective discrimination between error and correct responses is that it might interfere with the reinforcement of responses that optimize outcomes. Furthermore, dysconnection of the ACC, as suggested by reduced FA, to regions involved in behavioural control might impair on-line modulations of response speed to optimize performance (i.e. speed-accuracy trade-off) and increase error likelihood. These findings suggest that in ASD, structural and functional abnormalities of the ACC compromise response monitoring and thereby contribute to behaviour that is rigid and repetitive rather than flexible and responsive to contingencies. Illuminating the mechanisms and clinical significance of abnormal response monitoring in ASD represents a fruitful avenue for further research. en_US
dc.description.sponsorship National Institute for Mental Health (R01 MH67720, MH72120); Mental Illness Neuroscience Discovery Institute (DOE DE-FG02-99ER62764); National Center for Research Resources (P41RR14075) en_US
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.publisher Oxford University Press en_US
dc.rights Copyright 2008 The Author(s) This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. en_US
dc.rights.uri en_US
dc.subject autism en_US
dc.subject anterior cingulate cortex en_US
dc.subject response monitoring en_US
dc.subject functional MRI en_US
dc.subject diffusion tensor imaging en_US
dc.title Response Monitoring, Repetitive Behaviour and Anterior Cingulate Abnormalities in Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) en_US
dc.type article en_US
dc.identifier.doi 10.1093/brain/awn099 en_US
dc.identifier.pubmedid 18550622 en_US
dc.identifier.pmcid 2525446 en_US

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