Share this content in WeChat
Original Articles
The abnormal topological properties of brain functional network in children with autism spectrum disorders based on graph theory analysis
LI Yushuang  AO Yawen  ZHAO Yilin  YANG Huaguang  ZHA Yunfei 

Cite this article as: Li YS, Ao YW, Zhao YL, et al. The abnormal topological properties of brain functional network in children with autism spectrum disorders based on graph theory analysis[J]. Chin J Magn Reson Imaging, 2022, 13(3): 37-42. DOI:10.12015/issn.1674-8034.2022.03.008.

[Abstract] Objective To investigate the topological reorganization of brain functional networks in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and typically developing (TD) children.Materials and Methods In this study, resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging from the Autism Brain Imaging Data Exchange data (65 patients with ASD, 65 TD as controls) was applied to investigate the topological architecture of the brain network including global and local parameters using the graph theoretical analysis.Results Complex network analysis based on graph theory showed that children with ASD demonstrated shortened characteristic path length (Lp) and clustering coefficient (Cp) compared with TD group. Small world network properties were demonstrated in both ASD and TD groups with γ>1, λ≈1. No significant differences were found in neither γ nor λ. Significantly lower nodal efficiency was observed in bilateral anterior cingulate cortex, caudate nucleus, hippocampus and right inferior parietal lobule in ASD group compared with TD group.Conclusions Small-world architecture in brain functional networks was identified for both ASD and TD groups with a tendency to turn into random network. whatever, the ASD groups exhibit increased functional integration and decreased functional segregation of the brain functional networks. And the node efficiency of some brain regions was reduced. Our study provides a new perspective for exploring the pathogenesis and the clinical symptoms of ASD.
[Keywords] autism spectrum disorder;brain functional networks;graph theory analysis;resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging;topological architecture;small-world network property

LI Yushuang   AO Yawen   ZHAO Yilin   YANG Huaguang   ZHA Yunfei*  

Department of Radiology, Renmin Hospital of Wuhan University, Wuhan 430060, China

Zha YF, E-mail:

Conflicts of interest   None.

Received  2021-08-18
Accepted  2022-03-04
DOI: 10.12015/issn.1674-8034.2022.03.008
Cite this article as: Li YS, Ao YW, Zhao YL, et al. The abnormal topological properties of brain functional network in children with autism spectrum disorders based on graph theory analysis[J]. Chin J Magn Reson Imaging, 2022, 13(3): 37-42.DOI:10.12015/issn.1674-8034.2022.03.008

Lord C, Elsabbagh M, Baird G, et al. Autism spectrum disorder[J]. Lancet, 2018, 392(10146): 508-520. DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(18)31129-2.
Harikumar A, Evans DW, Dougherty CC, et al. A review of the default mode network in autism spectrum disorders and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder[J]. Brain Connect, 2021, 11(4): 253-263. DOI: 10.1089/brain.2020.0865.
Lee YB, Park BY, James O, et al. Autism spectrum disorder related functional connectivity changes in the language network in children, adolescents and adults[J]. Front Hum Neurosci, 2017, 11: 418. DOI: 10.3389/fnhum.2017.00418.
Vagnetti R, Pino MC, Masedu F, et al. Exploring the social cognition network in young adults with autism spectrum disorder using graph analysis[J]. Brain Behav, 2020, 10(3): e01524. DOI: 10.1002/brb3.1524.
Chen LT, Chen YM, Zheng H, et al. Changes in the topological organization of the default mode network in autism spectrum disorder[J]. Brain Imaging Behav, 2021, 15(2): 1058-1067. DOI: 10.1007/s11682-020-00312-8.
Qin B, Wang LL, Zhang Y, et al. Enhanced topological network efficiency in preschool autism spectrum disorder: a diffusion tensor imaging study[J]. Front Psychiatry, 2018, 9: 278. DOI: 10.3389/fpsyt.2018.00278.
Keown CL, Datko MC, Chen CP, et al. Network organization is globally atypical in autism: a graph theory study of intrinsic functional connectivity[J]. Biol Psychiatry Cogn Neurosci Neuroimaging, 2017, 2(1): 66-75. DOI: 10.1016/j.bpsc.2016.07.008.
Lord C, Rutter M, le Couteur A. Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised: a revised version of a diagnostic interview for caregivers of individuals with possible pervasive developmental disorders[J]. J Autism Dev Disord, 1994, 24(5): 659-685. DOI: 10.1007/BF02172145.
Power JD, Barnes KA, Snyder AZ, et al. Spurious but systematic correlations in functional connectivity MRI networks arise from subject motion[J]. Neuroimage, 2012, 59(3): 2142-2154. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2011.10.018.
Scholtens LH, Feldman Barrett L, van den Heuvel MP. Cross-species evidence of interplay between neural connectivity at the micro- and macroscale of connectome organization in human, mouse, and rat brain[J]. Brain Connect, 2018, 8(10): 595-603. DOI: 10.1089/brain.2018.0622.
Hallquist MN, Hillary FG. Graph theory approaches to functional network organization in brain disorders: a critique for a brave new small-world[J]. Netw Neurosci, 2019, 3(1): 1-26. DOI: 10.1162/netn_a_00054.
Rubinov M, Sporns O. Complex network measures of brain connectivity: uses and interpretations[J]. Neuroimage, 2010, 52(3): 1059-1069. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2009.10.003.
Ibrahim GM, Morgan BR, Vogan VM, et al. Mapping the network of neuropsychological impairment in children with autism spectrum disorder: a graph theoretical analysis[J]. J Autism Dev Disord, 2016, 46(12): 3770-3777. DOI: 10.1007/s10803-016-2929-8.
Fang H, Wu QR, Li Y, et al. Structural networks in children with autism spectrum disorder with regression: a graph theory study[J]. Behav Brain Res, 2020, 378: 112262. DOI: 10.1016/j.bbr.2019.112262.
Li SJ, Wang Y, Qian L, et al. Alterations of white matter connectivity in preschool children with autism spectrum disorder[J]. Radiology, 2018, 288(1): 209-217. DOI: 10.1148/radiol.2018170059.
Peters JM, Taquet M, Vega C, et al. Brain functional networks in syndromic and non-syndromic autism: a graph theoretical study of EEG connectivity[J]. BMC Med, 2013, 11: 54. DOI: 10.1186/1741-7015-11-54.
Wu BL, Li XK, Zhou J, et al. Altered whole-brain functional networks in drug-naïve, first-episode adolescents with major depression disorder[J]. J Magn Reson Imaging, 2020, 52(6): 1790-1798. DOI: 10.1002/jmri.27270.
van Elst LT, Maier S, Fangmeier T, et al. Disturbed cingulate glutamate metabolism in adults with high-functioning autism spectrum disorder: evidence in support of the excitatory/inhibitory imbalance hypothesis[J]. Mol Psychiatry, 2014, 19(12): 1314-1325. DOI: 10.1038/mp.2014.62.
Langen M, Bos D, Noordermeer SD, et al. Changes in the development of striatum are involved in repetitive behavior in autism[J]. Biol Psychiatry, 2014, 76(5): 405-411. DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2013.08.013.
Yao SX, Zhou MH, Zhang Y, et al. Decreased homotopic interhemispheric functional connectivity in children with autism spectrum disorder[J]. Autism Res, 2021, 14(8): 1609-1620. DOI: 10.1002/aur.2523.
Banker SM, Gu XS, Schiller D, et al. Hippocampal contributions to social and cognitive deficits in autism spectrum disorder[J]. Trends Neurosci, 2021, 44(10): 793-807. DOI: 10.1016/j.tins.2021.08.005.
Cooper RA, Richter FR, Bays PM, et al. Reduced hippocampal functional connectivity during episodic memory retrieval in autism[J]. Cereb Cortex, 2017, 27(2): 888-902. DOI: 10.1093/cercor/bhw417.
Hashimoto T, Yokota S, Matsuzaki Y, et al. Intrinsic hippocampal functional connectivity underlying rigid memory in children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder: a case-control study[J]. Autism, 2021, 25(7): 1901-1912. DOI: 10.1177/13623613211004058.
Oberman LM, Ramachandran VS. The simulating social mind: the role of the mirror neuron system and simulation in the social and communicative deficits of autism spectrum disorders[J]. Psychol Bull, 2007, 133(2): 310-327. DOI: 10.1037/0033-2909.133.2.310.
Wymbs NF, Nebel MB, Ewen JB, et al. Altered inferior parietal functional connectivity is correlated with Praxis and social skill performance in children with autism spectrum disorder[J]. Cereb Cortex, 2021, 31(5): 2639-2652. DOI: 10.1093/cercor/bhaa380.

PREV Coherence-based regional homogeneity study of acute and remitting multiple sclerosis
NEXT Research on the connectivity method of human and macaque brain regions based on DTI

Tel & Fax: +8610-67113815    E-mail: