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Fronto-striatal dysfunction and potential compensatory mechanisms in male adolescents with fragile X syndrome

Authors

  • Fumiko Hoeft,

    Corresponding author
    1. Center for Interdisciplinary Brain Sciences Research (CIBSR), Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California
    • 401 Quarry Road, Stanford, CA, USA
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    • F. Hoeft and A. Hernandez contributed equally to this work.

  • Arvel Hernandez,

    1. Center for Interdisciplinary Brain Sciences Research (CIBSR), Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California
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    • F. Hoeft and A. Hernandez contributed equally to this work.

  • Sudharshan Parthasarathy,

    1. Center for Interdisciplinary Brain Sciences Research (CIBSR), Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California
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  • Christa L. Watson,

    1. Center for Interdisciplinary Brain Sciences Research (CIBSR), Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California
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  • Scott S. Hall,

    1. Center for Interdisciplinary Brain Sciences Research (CIBSR), Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California
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  • Allan L. Reiss

    1. Center for Interdisciplinary Brain Sciences Research (CIBSR), Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California
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Abstract

Response inhibition is an important facet of executive function. Fragile X syndrome (FraX), with a known genetic etiology (fragile X mental retardation-1 (FMR1) mutation) and deficits in response inhibition, may be an ideal condition for elucidating interactions among gene-brain-behavior relationships. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies have shown evidence of aberrant neural activity when individuals with FraX perform executive function tasks, though the specific nature of this altered activity or possible compensatory processes has yet to be elucidated. To address this question, we examined brain activation patterns using fMRI during a go/nogo task in adolescent males with FraX and in controls. The critical comparison was made between FraX individuals and age, gender, and intelligent quotient (IQ)-matched developmentally delayed controls; in addition to a control group of age and gender-matched typically developing individuals. The FraX group showed reduced activation in the right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (VLPFC) and right caudate head, and increased contralateral (left) VLPFC activation compared with both control groups. Individuals with FraX, but not controls, showed a significant positive correlation between task performance and activation in the left VLPFC. This potential compensatory activation was predicted by the interaction between FMR1 protein (FMRP) levels and right striatal dysfunction. These results suggest that right fronto-striatal dysfunction is likely an identifiable neuro-phenotypic feature of FraX and that activation of the left VLPFC during successful response inhibition may reflect compensatory processes. We further show that these putative compensatory processes can be predicted by a complex interaction between genetic risk and neural function. Hum Brain Mapp, 2007. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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