Distribution and Within-Family Specificity of Quantitative Autistic Traits in Patients with Neurofibromatosis Type i

John N. Constantino, Yi Zhang, Kieran Holzhauer, Sayli Sant, Kyna Long, Alicia Vallorani, Leena Malik, David H. Gutmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective To examine the distribution of quantitative autistic traits (QATs) in an independent neurofibromatosis type I (NF1) sample, the relationships between QAT, sex, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptomatology, and to explore evidence for QAT mutational specificity within families. Study design Age-appropriate versions of the Social Responsiveness Scale, second edition and the Conners Adult ADHD Rating Scales were completed for 103 patients with NF1 from the Washington University Neurofibromatosis Center. Results Patients with NF1 exhibited a pathologically shifted unimodal distribution for QAT. Forty-four percent of the subjects exhibited a QAT burden at or above 1 SD from the population mean; 13% scored at or above the extreme first percentile of the general population distribution. Elevations in ADHD symptomatology exhibited a distinct bimodal distribution; however, mean ADHD index scores were equivalent in patients who had been diagnosed in the community with ADHD compared with those who had not. We observed striking within-family associations for QAT, reflected by an Social Responsiveness Scale, second edition intraclass correlation of 0.77 in pairings of first degree relatives with NF1. Conclusions Impairments in reciprocal social behavior and attention affect a large proportion of patients with NF1 throughout life and are often clinically unrecognized. Further exploration of genotype-phenotype correlation is strongly warranted for the purpose of gaining insights into mechanisms by which specific mutational variations in the NF1 gene may influence autistic trait severity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)621-626.e1
JournalJournal of Pediatrics
Volume167
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015

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