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Abstract #0190

Mapping atypical functional connectome organization and hierarchy in autism spectrum disorders

Seok-Jun Hong1,2, Reinder Vos De Wael1, Richard A.I. Bethlehem3, Sara Lariviere1, Casey Paquola1, Sofie L. Valk4, Adriana Di Martino5, Daniel S. Margulies6, Michael P. Milham2,7, Jonathan Smallwood8, and Boris C. Bernhardt1

1Multimodal Imaging and Connectome Analysis Lab, Montreal Neurological Institute, Montreal, Quebec, QC, Canada, 2Center for the Developing Brain, Child Mind Institute, New York, NY, United States, 3Autism Research Centre, Department of Psychiatry, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom, 4Institute of Systems Neuroscience, Medical Faculty, Heinrich Heine University, Düsseldorf, Germany, 5Autism Center, Child Mind Institute, New York, NY, United States, 6Institut de Cerveau et de la Moelle épinière, Hôpital Pitié Salpêtrière, Paris, France, 7Center for Biomedical Imaging and Neuromodulation, Nathan S. Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research, New York, NY, United States, 8Department of Psychology, University of York, York, United Kingdom

One paradox of autism is the co-occurrence of deficits in sensory and higher-order socio-cognitive processing. The current work examined whether these phenotypical patterns may relate to abnormal macroscale hierarchy affecting both unimodal and transmodal networks. Combining connectome gradient and stepwise connectivity analysis based on task-free fMRI, we demonstrated atypical connectivity transitions between sensory and higher-order default mode regions in a large cohort of autism individuals. Supervised pattern learning revealed that hierarchical features predicted deficits in social cognition and low-level behavioral symptoms. Our findings provide new evidence for network imbalances in autism, offering a parsimonious reference to consolidate its diverse features.

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