Morphological abnormalities in prefrontal surface area and thalamic volume in attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder.
Batty MJ., Palaniyappan L., Scerif G., Groom MJ., Liddle EB., Liddle PF., Hollis C.
Although previous morphological studies have demonstrated abnormalities in prefrontal cortical thickness in children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), studies investigating cortical surface area are lacking. As the development of cortical surface is closely linked to the establishment of thalam-ocortical connections, any abnormalities in the structure of the thalamus are likely to relate to altered cortical surface area. Using a clinically well-defined sample of children with ADHD (n = 25, 1 female) and typically developing controls (n = 24, 1 female), we studied surface area across the cortex to determine whether children with ADHD had reduced thalamic volume that related to prefrontal cortical surface area. Relative to controls, children with ADHD had a significant reduction in thalamic volume and dorsolateral prefrontal cortical area in both hemispheres. Furthermore, children with ADHD with smaller thalamic volumes were found to have greater reductions in surface area, a pattern not evident in the control children. Our results are further evidence of reduced lateral prefrontal cortical area in ADHD. Moreover, for the first time, we have also shown a direct association between thalamic anatomy and frontal anatomy in ADHD, suggesting the pathophysiological process that alters surface area maturation is likely to be linked to the development of the thalamus.