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Neuroimage. 2014 Oct 15;100:676-83. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2014.04.072. Epub 2014 May 9.

Heritability of brain volume change and its relation to intelligence.

Author information

1
Brain Center Rudolf Magnus, Department of Psychiatry, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands. Electronic address: r.m.brouwer-4@umcutrecht.nl.
2
Brain Center Rudolf Magnus, Department of Psychiatry, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands.
3
Department of Biological Psychology, Free University, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Neuroscience Campus, VU University, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
4
Department of Biological Psychology, Free University, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Abstract

Human brain volumes change throughout life, are highly heritable, and have been associated with general cognitive functioning. Cross-sectionally, this association between volume and cognition can largely be attributed to the same genes influencing both traits. We address the question whether longitudinal changes in brain volume or in surface area in young adults are under genetic control and whether these changes are also related to general cognitive functioning. We measured change in brain volume and surface area over a 5-year interval in 176 monozygotic and dizygotic twins and their non-twin siblings aged 19 to 56, using magnetic resonance imaging. Results show that changes in volumes of total brain (mean = -6.4 ml; 0.5% loss), cerebellum (1.4 ml, 1.0% increase), cerebral white matter (4.4 ml, 0.9% increase), lateral ventricles (0.6 ml; 4.8% increase) and in surface area (-19.7 cm(2),1.1% contraction) are heritable (h(2) = 43%; 52%; 29%; 31%; and 33%, respectively). An association between IQ (available for 91 participants) and brain volume change was observed, which was attributed to genes involved in both the variation in change in brain volume and in intelligence. Thus, dynamic changes in brain structure are heritable and may have cognitive significance in adulthood.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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