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J Neurodev Disord. 2011 Dec;3(4):293-306. doi: 10.1007/s11689-011-9089-0. Epub 2011 Aug 5.

Turner syndrome and sexual differentiation of the brain: implications for understanding male-biased neurodevelopmental disorders.

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1
Department of Psychiatry CB 7160, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 343 Medical Wings C, Campus Box #7160, Chapel Hill, NC, 27599-7160, USA, rebecca_knickmeyer@med.unc.edu.

Abstract

Turner syndrome (TS) is one of the most common sex chromosome abnormalities. Affected individuals often show a unique pattern of cognitive strengths and weaknesses and are at increased risk for a number of other neurodevelopmental conditions, many of which are more common in typical males than typical females (e.g., autism and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder). This phenotype may reflect gonadal steroid deficiency, haploinsufficiency of X chromosome genes, failure to express parentally imprinted genes, and the uncovering of X chromosome mutations. Understanding the contribution of these different mechanisms to outcome has the potential to improve clinical care for individuals with TS and to better our understanding of the differential vulnerability to and expression of neurodevelopmental disorders in males and females. In this paper, we review what is currently known about cognition and brain development in individuals with TS, discuss underlying mechanisms and their relevance to understanding male-biased neurodevelopmental conditions, and suggest directions for future research.

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