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Neuroimage. 2014 Jul 1;94:216-221. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2014.02.030. Epub 2014 Mar 12.

Estimating volumes of the pituitary gland from T1-weighted magnetic-resonance images: effects of age, puberty, testosterone, and estradiol.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada; Rotman Research Institute, Baycrest, Toronto, Canada.
2
Kimel Family Translational Imaging Genetics Research Laboratory, Research Imaging Centre, The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, Canada.
3
Rotman Research Institute, Baycrest, Toronto, Canada.
4
Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University, Montréal, Canada.
5
ECOBES, Cégep de Jonquière, Jonquière, Canada; University of Quebec in Chicoutimi, Chicoutimi, Canada.
6
Department of Radiology and Hotchkiss Brain Institute, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada.
7
University of Quebec in Chicoutimi, Chicoutimi, Canada.
8
Rotman Research Institute, Baycrest, Toronto, Canada; Kimel Family Translational Imaging Genetics Research Laboratory, Research Imaging Centre, The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, Canada; Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada; Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada.
9
The Hospital for Sick Children, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada.
10
Department of Psychology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada; Rotman Research Institute, Baycrest, Toronto, Canada; Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada. Electronic address: tpaus@research.baycrest.org.

Abstract

The pituitary gland is a key structure in the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) axis--it plays an important role in sexual maturation during puberty. Despite its small size, its volume can be quantified using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Here, we study a cohort of 962 typically developing adolescents from the Saguenay Youth Study and estimate pituitary volumes using a newly developed multi-atlas segmentation method known as the MAGeT Brain algorithm. We found that age and puberty stage (controlled for age) each predicts adjusted pituitary volumes (controlled for total brain volume) in both males and females. Controlling for the effects of age and puberty stage, total testosterone and estradiol levels also predict adjusted pituitary volumes in males and pre-menarche females, respectively. These findings demonstrate that the pituitary gland grows during adolescence, and its volume relates to circulating plasma-levels of sex steroids in both males and females.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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