6. An Overabundance of Prefrontal Cortex Neurons Underlies Early Brain Overgrowth in Autism
- Peter R. Mouton PhD
Published Online: 22 NOV 2013
Copyright © 2014 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Neurostereology: Unbiased Stereology of Neural Systems
How to Cite
Courchesne, E., Mouton, P. R., Calhoun, M. E., Ahrens-Barbeau, C., Hallet, M. J., Carter Barnes, C., Pierce, K. and Semendeferi, K. (2014) An Overabundance of Prefrontal Cortex Neurons Underlies Early Brain Overgrowth in Autism, in Neurostereology: Unbiased Stereology of Neural Systems (ed P. R. Mouton), John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Ames, USA. doi: 10.1002/9781118444177.ch6
- Published Online: 22 NOV 2013
- Published Print: 17 JAN 2014
Print ISBN: 9781118444214
Online ISBN: 9781118444177
- brain overgrowth;
- computerized stereology;
- prefrontal cortex neurons underlies
Autism is a developmental disorder involving early brain overgrowth. Overgrowth and dysfunction are strongly evident at young ages in prefrontal and temporal cortices. The authors use computerized stereology to examine the neural basis of early brain overgrowth in autism. They indicate that autism does involve a substantial overabundance of prefrontal neurons, and the greater the excess, the greater the overall deviant brain size. This chapter presents a study conducted on brains from n = 9 autistic and n = 7 control males, aged 2 to 16 years. Two major prefrontal divisions are analyzed: dorsolateral (DL-PFC) and mesial (M-PFC) prefrontal cortex. The findings point to a second critical neuropathological phenomenon in autism: excess neuron numbers in the brains of young males with autism appear to be removed across decades, unlike the normal brain in which naturally occurring apoptosis removes excess rapidly across just a few months of prenatal and perinatal life.