Abnormal language pathway in children with Angelman syndrome

Benjamin J. Wilson, Senthil K. Sundaram, A. H.M. Huq, Jeong Won Jeong, Stacey R. Halverson, Michael E. Behen, Duy Q. Bui, Harry T. Chugani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations

Abstract

Angelman syndrome is a genetic disorder characterized by pervasive developmental disability with failure to develop speech. We examined the basis for severe language delay in patients with Angelman syndrome by diffusion tensor imaging. Magnetic resonance imaging/diffusion tensor imaging was performed in 7 children with genetically confirmed Angelman syndrome (age 70 ± 26 months, 5 boys) and 4 age-matched control children to investigate the microstructural integrity of arcuate fasciculus and other major association tracts. Six of 7 children with Angelman syndrome had unidentifiable left arcuate fasciculus, while all control children had identifiable arcuate fasciculus. The right arcuate fasciculus was absent in 6 of 7 children with Angelman syndrome and 1 of 4 control children. Diffusion tensor imaging color mapping suggested aberrant morphology of the arcuate fasciculus region. Other association tracts, including uncinate fasciculus, inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus, inferior longitudinal fasciculus, and corticospinal tract, were identifiable but manifested decreased fractional anisotropy in children with Angelman syndrome. Increased apparent diffusion coefficient was seen in all tracts except uncinate fasciculus when compared to control children. Patients with Angelman syndrome have global impairment of white matter integrity in association tracts, particularly the arcuate fasciculus, which reveals severe morphologic changes. This finding could be the result of a potential problem with axon guidance during brain development, possibly due to loss of UBE3A gene expression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)350-356
Number of pages7
JournalPediatric Neurology
Volume44
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2011

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