Stereological analysis of amygdala neuron number in autism

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

252 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The amygdala is one of several brain regions suspected to be pathological in autism. Previously, we found that young children with autism have a larger amygdala than typically developing children. Past qualitative observations of the autistic brain suggest increased cell density in some nuclei of the postmortem autistic amygdala. In this first, quantitative stereological study of the autistic brain, we counted and measured neurons in several amygdala subdivisions of 9 autism male brains and 10 age-matched male control brains. Cases with comorbid seizure disorder were excluded from the study. The amygdaloid complex was outlined on coronal sections then partitioned into five reliably defined subdivisions: (1) lateral nucleus, (2) basal nucleus, (3) accessory basal nucleus, (4) central nucleus, and (5) remaining nuclei. There is no difference in overall volume of the amygdala or in individual subdivisions. There are also no changes in cell size. However, there are significantly fewer neurons in the autistic amygdala overall and in its lateral nucleus. In conjunction with the findings from previous magnetic resonance imaging studies, the autistic amygdala appears to undergo an abnormal pattern of postnatal development that includes early enlargement and ultimately a reduced number of neurons. It will be important to determine in future studies whether neuron loss in the amygdala is a consistent characteristic of autism and whether cell loss occurs in other brain regions as well.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7674-7679
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Volume26
Issue number29
DOIs
StatePublished - 2006

Fingerprint

Autistic Disorder
Amygdala
Neurons
Brain
Basal Ganglia
Cell Size
Epilepsy
Cell Count
Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Keywords

  • Amygdaloid complex
  • Autism
  • Medial temporal lobe
  • Neuroanatomy
  • Neuronal density
  • Neuropathology
  • Stereology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

Cite this

Stereological analysis of amygdala neuron number in autism. / Schumann, Cynthia; Amaral, David G.

In: Journal of Neuroscience, Vol. 26, No. 29, 2006, p. 7674-7679.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{a0d84c2a666e42bc87e381688c0532ea,
title = "Stereological analysis of amygdala neuron number in autism",
abstract = "The amygdala is one of several brain regions suspected to be pathological in autism. Previously, we found that young children with autism have a larger amygdala than typically developing children. Past qualitative observations of the autistic brain suggest increased cell density in some nuclei of the postmortem autistic amygdala. In this first, quantitative stereological study of the autistic brain, we counted and measured neurons in several amygdala subdivisions of 9 autism male brains and 10 age-matched male control brains. Cases with comorbid seizure disorder were excluded from the study. The amygdaloid complex was outlined on coronal sections then partitioned into five reliably defined subdivisions: (1) lateral nucleus, (2) basal nucleus, (3) accessory basal nucleus, (4) central nucleus, and (5) remaining nuclei. There is no difference in overall volume of the amygdala or in individual subdivisions. There are also no changes in cell size. However, there are significantly fewer neurons in the autistic amygdala overall and in its lateral nucleus. In conjunction with the findings from previous magnetic resonance imaging studies, the autistic amygdala appears to undergo an abnormal pattern of postnatal development that includes early enlargement and ultimately a reduced number of neurons. It will be important to determine in future studies whether neuron loss in the amygdala is a consistent characteristic of autism and whether cell loss occurs in other brain regions as well.",
keywords = "Amygdaloid complex, Autism, Medial temporal lobe, Neuroanatomy, Neuronal density, Neuropathology, Stereology",
author = "Cynthia Schumann and Amaral, {David G}",
year = "2006",
doi = "10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1285-06.2006",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "26",
pages = "7674--7679",
journal = "Journal of Neuroscience",
issn = "0270-6474",
publisher = "Society for Neuroscience",
number = "29",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Stereological analysis of amygdala neuron number in autism

AU - Schumann, Cynthia

AU - Amaral, David G

PY - 2006

Y1 - 2006

N2 - The amygdala is one of several brain regions suspected to be pathological in autism. Previously, we found that young children with autism have a larger amygdala than typically developing children. Past qualitative observations of the autistic brain suggest increased cell density in some nuclei of the postmortem autistic amygdala. In this first, quantitative stereological study of the autistic brain, we counted and measured neurons in several amygdala subdivisions of 9 autism male brains and 10 age-matched male control brains. Cases with comorbid seizure disorder were excluded from the study. The amygdaloid complex was outlined on coronal sections then partitioned into five reliably defined subdivisions: (1) lateral nucleus, (2) basal nucleus, (3) accessory basal nucleus, (4) central nucleus, and (5) remaining nuclei. There is no difference in overall volume of the amygdala or in individual subdivisions. There are also no changes in cell size. However, there are significantly fewer neurons in the autistic amygdala overall and in its lateral nucleus. In conjunction with the findings from previous magnetic resonance imaging studies, the autistic amygdala appears to undergo an abnormal pattern of postnatal development that includes early enlargement and ultimately a reduced number of neurons. It will be important to determine in future studies whether neuron loss in the amygdala is a consistent characteristic of autism and whether cell loss occurs in other brain regions as well.

AB - The amygdala is one of several brain regions suspected to be pathological in autism. Previously, we found that young children with autism have a larger amygdala than typically developing children. Past qualitative observations of the autistic brain suggest increased cell density in some nuclei of the postmortem autistic amygdala. In this first, quantitative stereological study of the autistic brain, we counted and measured neurons in several amygdala subdivisions of 9 autism male brains and 10 age-matched male control brains. Cases with comorbid seizure disorder were excluded from the study. The amygdaloid complex was outlined on coronal sections then partitioned into five reliably defined subdivisions: (1) lateral nucleus, (2) basal nucleus, (3) accessory basal nucleus, (4) central nucleus, and (5) remaining nuclei. There is no difference in overall volume of the amygdala or in individual subdivisions. There are also no changes in cell size. However, there are significantly fewer neurons in the autistic amygdala overall and in its lateral nucleus. In conjunction with the findings from previous magnetic resonance imaging studies, the autistic amygdala appears to undergo an abnormal pattern of postnatal development that includes early enlargement and ultimately a reduced number of neurons. It will be important to determine in future studies whether neuron loss in the amygdala is a consistent characteristic of autism and whether cell loss occurs in other brain regions as well.

KW - Amygdaloid complex

KW - Autism

KW - Medial temporal lobe

KW - Neuroanatomy

KW - Neuronal density

KW - Neuropathology

KW - Stereology

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=33747064990&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=33747064990&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1285-06.2006

DO - 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1285-06.2006

M3 - Article

C2 - 16855095

AN - SCOPUS:33747064990

VL - 26

SP - 7674

EP - 7679

JO - Journal of Neuroscience

JF - Journal of Neuroscience

SN - 0270-6474

IS - 29

ER -