The genetic organization of longitudinal subcortical volumetric change is stable throughout the lifespan
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SourceElife, 10, (2021), article e66466
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ DCC AI
SubjectAll institutes and research themes of the Radboud University Medical Center; Cognitive artificial intelligence; Radboudumc 13: Stress-related disorders DCMN: Donders Center for Medical Neuroscience
Development and aging of the cerebral cortex show similar topographic organization and are governed by the same genes. It is unclear whether the same is true for subcortical regions, which follow fundamentally different ontogenetic and phylogenetic principles. We tested the hypothesis that genetically governed neurodevelopmental processes can be traced throughout life by assessing to which degree brain regions that develop together continue to change together through life. Analyzing over 6000 longitudinal MRIs of the brain, we used graph theory to identify five clusters of coordinated development, indexed as patterns of correlated volumetric change in brain structures. The clusters tended to follow placement along the cranial axis in embryonic brain development, suggesting continuity from prenatal stages, and correlated with cognition. Across independent longitudinal datasets, we demonstrated that developmental clusters were conserved through life. Twin-based genetic correlations revealed distinct sets of genes governing change in each cluster. Single-nucleotide polymorphisms-based analyses of 38,127 cross-sectional MRIs showed a similar pattern of genetic volume-volume correlations. In conclusion, coordination of subcortical change adheres to fundamental principles of lifespan continuity and genetic organization.
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