Weaker neural suppression in autism

Michael Paul Schallmo, Tamar Kolodny, Alexander M. Kale, Rachel Millin, Anastasia V. Flevaris, Richard A.E. Edden, Jennifer Gerdts, Raphael A. Bernier, Scott O. Murray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations

Abstract

Abnormal sensory processing has been observed in autism, including superior visual motion discrimination, but the neural basis for these sensory changes remains unknown. Leveraging well-characterized suppressive neural circuits in the visual system, we used behavioral and fMRI tasks to demonstrate a significant reduction in neural suppression in young adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) compared to neurotypical controls. MR spectroscopy measurements revealed no group differences in neurotransmitter signals. We show how a computational model that incorporates divisive normalization, as well as narrower top-down gain (that could result, for example, from a narrower window of attention), can explain our observations and divergent previous findings. Thus, weaker neural suppression is reflected in visual task performance and fMRI measures in ASD, and may be attributable to differences in top-down processing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2675
JournalNature communications
Volume11
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - May 29 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, The Author(s).

Keywords

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Attention/physiology
  • Autistic Disorder/pathology
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cognition/physiology
  • Computer Simulation
  • Discrimination, Psychological/physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Motion Perception/physiology
  • Sensory Receptor Cells/physiology
  • Visual Acuity/physiology
  • Young Adult

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

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