Disruption of large-scale brain networks is associated with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Recently, we found that directed functional connectivity alterations of social brain networks are a core component of atypical brain development at early developmental stages in ASD (Sperdin et al., 2018). Here, we investigated the spatio-temporal dynamics of whole-brain neuronal networks at a subsecond scale in 90 toddlers and preschoolers (47 with ASD) using an EEG microstate approach. Results revealed the presence of five microstate classes that best described the entire dataset (labeled as microstate classes A-E). Microstate class C related to the Default Mode Network (DMN) occurred less in children with ASD. Analysis of brain-behavioural relationships within the ASD group suggested that a compensatory mechanism from microstate C was associated with less severe symptoms and better adaptive skills. These results demonstrate that the temporal properties of some specific EEG microstates are altered in ASD at early developmental stages.
bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience