Minicolumnar changes that generalize throughout a significant portion of the cortex have macroscopic structural correlates that may be visualized with modern structural neuroimaging techniques. In magnetic resonance images (MRIs) of fourteen autistic patients and 28 controls, the present study found macroscopic morphological correlates to recent neuropathological findings suggesting a minicolumnopathy in autism. Autistic patients manifested a significant reduction in the aperture for afferent/efferent cortical connections, i.e., gyral window. Furthermore, the size of the gyral window directly correlated to the size of the corpus callosum. A reduced gyral window constrains the possible size of projection fibers and biases connectivity towards shorter corticocortical fibers at the expense of longer association/commisural fibers. The findings may help explain abnormalities in motor skill development, differences in postnatal brain growth, and the regression of acquired functions observed in some autistic patients.
Keywords: Autistic disorder, Corpus callosum, Magnetic resonance imaging, Telencephalon