Normal sexual dimorphism in the human basal ganglia.
SourceHuman Brain Mapping, 33, 5, (2012), pp. 1246-52
01 mei 2012
Article / Letter to editor
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PI Group Memory & Emotion
F.C. Donders Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging
Human Brain Mapping
Subject130 000 Cognitive Neurology & Memory; DCN MP - Plasticity and memory; DCN PAC - Perception action and control; DCN PAC - Perception action and control IGMD 3: Genomic disorders and inherited multi-system disorders; IGMD 3: Genomic disorders and inherited multi-system disorders DCN MP - Plasticity and memory; ONCOL 3: Translational research NCMLS 2: Immune Regulation
Male and female brains differ in both structure and function. Investigating this sexual dimorphism in healthy subjects is an important first step to ultimately gain insight into sex-specific differences in behavior and risk for neuropsychiatric disorders. The basal ganglia are among the main regions containing sex steroid receptors in the brain and play a central role in cognitive (dys)functioning. However, little is known about sexual dimorphism of different basal ganglia nuclei. The aim of the present study was to investigate sex-specific differences in basal ganglia morphology using MRI. We applied automatic volumetry on anatomical MRI data of two large cohorts of healthy young adults (n = 463 and n = 541) and assessed the volume of four major nuclei of the basal ganglia: caudate nucleus, globus pallidus, nucleus accumbens, and putamen, while controlling for total gray matter volume, total white matter volume, and age of the participant. No significant sex differences were found for caudate nucleus and nucleus accumbens, but males showed significantly larger volumes for globus pallidus and putamen, as confirmed in both cohorts. These results show that sexual dimorphism is neither a general effect in the basal ganglia nor confined to just one specific nucleus, and will aid the interpretation of differences in basal ganglia (dys)function between males and females.
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