Electrophysiological signatures of atypical intrinsic brain connectivity networks in autism

Guofa Shou, Matthew W. Mosconi, Jun Wang, Lauren E. Ethridge, John A. Sweeney, Lei Ding

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Objective. Abnormal local and long-range brain connectivity have been widely reported in autism spectrum disorder (ASD), yet the nature of these abnormalities and their functional relevance at distinct cortical rhythms remains unknown. Investigations of intrinsic connectivity networks (ICNs) and their coherence across whole brain networks hold promise for determining whether patterns of functional connectivity abnormalities vary across frequencies and networks in ASD. In the present study, we aimed to probe atypical intrinsic brain connectivity networks in ASD from resting-state electroencephalography (EEG) data via characterizing the whole brain network. Approach. Connectivity within individual ICNs (measured by spectral power) and between ICNs (measured by coherence) were examined at four canonical frequency bands via a time-frequency independent component analysis on high-density EEG, which were recorded from 20 ASD and 20 typical developing (TD) subjects during an eyes-closed resting state. Main results. Among twelve identified electrophysiological ICNs, individuals with ASD showed hyper-connectivity in individual ICNs and hypo-connectivity between ICNs. Functional connectivity alterations in ASD were more severe in the frontal lobe and the default mode network (DMN) and at low frequency bands. These functional connectivity measures also showed abnormal age-related associations in ICNs related to frontal, temporal and motor regions in ASD. Significance. Our findings suggest that ASD is characterized by the opposite directions of abnormalities (i.e. hypo- and hyper-connectivity) in the hierarchical structure of the whole brain network, with more impairments in the frontal lobe and the DMN at low frequency bands, which are critical for top-down control of sensory systems, as well as for both cognition and social skills.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number046010
JournalJournal of neural engineering
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 25 2017


  • EEG
  • autism
  • functional domain specificity
  • intrinsic connectivity networks
  • resting state

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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