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Brain Res. 2011 Feb 23;1375:41-8. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2010.12.051. Epub 2010 Dec 21.

Sex differences in adolescent white matter architecture.

Author information

1
VA San Diego Healthcare System, Psychology Service (116B), 3350 La Jolla Village Drive, San Diego, CA 92126, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Sex-specific trajectories in white matter development during adolescence may help explain cognitive and behavioral divergences between males and females. Knowledge of sex differences in typically developing adolescents can provide a basis for interpreting sexual dimorphisms in abilities and actions.

METHOD:

We examined 58 healthy adolescents (12-14years of age) with diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). Diffusion parameters fractional anisotropy (FA), and mean (MD), radial (RD), and axial diffusivities (AD) were subjected to whole-brain voxel-wise group comparisons using tract-based spatial statistics. Sex differences in white matter microstructure were examined in relation to pubertal development.

RESULTS:

Early adolescent females (n=29) evidenced higher FA in the right superior corona radiata, higher FA and AD in bilateral corticospinal tracts (≥164μl, p<.01), and lower MD in the right inferior longitudinal fasciculus (ILF) and left forceps major (≥164μl, p<.01) than age-matched males (n=29). Males did not show any areas of higher FA or lower MD than females, but had higher AD in the right superior longitudinal fasciculus, ILF, and forceps minor (≥ 164μl, p<.01). Pubertal stage did not account for sex disparities.

CONCLUSION:

In early adolescence, females' motor tracts may reflect widespread changes, while males may undergo relatively more microstructural change in projection and association fibers.

PMID:
21172320
PMCID:
PMC3035918
DOI:
10.1016/j.brainres.2010.12.051
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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