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Aberrant frontal lobe maturation in adolescents with fragile X syndrome is related to delayed cognitive maturation

Aberrant frontal lobe maturation in adolescents with fragile X syndrome is related to delayed cognitive maturation

Biological Psychiatry 70(9): 852-858

Fragile X syndrome (FXS) is the most common known heritable cause of intellectual disability. Prior studies in FXS have observed a plateau in cognitive and adaptive behavioral development in early adolescence, suggesting that brain development in FXS may diverge from typical development during this period. In this study, we examined adolescent brain development using structural magnetic resonance imaging data acquired from 59 individuals with FXS and 83 typically developing control subjects aged 9 to 22, a subset of whom were followed up longitudinally (1-5 years; typically developing: 17, FXS: 19). Regional volumes were modeled to obtain estimates of age-related change. We found that while structures such as the caudate showed consistent volume differences from control subjects across adolescence, prefrontal cortex (PFC) gyri showed significantly aberrant maturation. Furthermore, we found that PFC-related measures of cognitive functioning followed a similarly aberrant developmental trajectory in FXS. Our findings suggest that aberrant maturation of the PFC during adolescence may contribute to persistent or increasing intellectual deficits in FXS.

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Accession: 036164149

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PMID: 21802660

DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2011.05.038

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