Reduced auditory steady state responses in autism spectrum disorder


Background Auditory steady state responses (ASSRs) are elicited by clicktrains or amplitude-modulated tones, which entrain auditory cortex at their specific modulation rate. Previous research has reported reductions in ASSRs at 40 Hz for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) participants and first-degree relatives of people diagnosed with ASD (Mol Autism. 2011;2:11, Biol Psychiatry. 2007;62:192–197). Methods Using a 1.5 s-long auditory clicktrain stimulus, designed to elicit an ASSR at 40 Hz, this study attempted to replicate and extend these findings. Magnetencephalography (MEG) data were collected from 18 adolescent ASD participants and 18 typically developing controls. Results The ASSR localised to bilateral primary auditory regions. Regions of interest were thus defined in left and right primary auditory cortex (A1). While the transient gamma-band response (tGBR) from 0-0.1 s following presentation of the clicktrain stimulus was not different between groups, for either left or right A1, the ASD group had reduced oscillatory power at 40 Hz from 0.5 to 1.5 s post-stimulus onset, for both left and right A1. Additionally, the ASD group had reduced inter-trial coherence (phase consistency over trials) at 40 Hz from 0.64-0.82 s for right A1 and 1.04-1.22 s for left A1. Limitations In this study, we did not conduct a clinical autism assessment (e.g. the ADOS), and therefore, it remains unclear whether ASSR power and/or ITC are associated with the clinical symptoms of ASD. Conclusion Overall, our results support a specific reduction in ASSR oscillatory power and inter-trial coherence in ASD, rather than a generalised deficit in gamma-band responses. We argue that this could reflect a developmentally relevant reduction in non-linear neural processing.

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Divisions: College of Health & Life Sciences > School of Psychology
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Publication ISSN: 2040-2392
Last Modified: 04 Mar 2024 08:40
Date Deposited: 17 Jul 2020 07:08
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Related URLs: https://molecul ... 229-020-00357-y (Publisher URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2020-07-01
Accepted Date: 2020-06-10
Authors: Seymour, R. A. (ORCID Profile 0000-0001-8600-8123)
Rippon, G.
Gooding-williams, G.
Sowman, P. F.
Kessler, K. (ORCID Profile 0000-0001-7307-9539)



Version: Published Version

License: Creative Commons Attribution

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