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Brain Struct Funct. 2015 Nov;220(6):3233-44. doi: 10.1007/s00429-014-0852-3. Epub 2014 Jul 30.

Identifying craniofacial features associated with prenatal exposure to androgens and testing their relationship with brain development.

Author information

1
Rotman Research Institute, University of Toronto, 3560 Bathurst Street, Toronto, ON, M6A 2E1, Canada.
2
School of Psychology, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, NG72RD, UK.
3
Behavioral and Social Neuroscience Research Group, CEITEC-Central European Institute of Technology, Masaryk University, Kamenice 5, 625 00, Brno, Czech Republic.
4
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, 250 College St., Toronto, ON, M5T1R8, Canada.
5
Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, 250 College Street, Toronto, ON, M5T 1R8, Canada.
6
Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering, University of Toronto, 164 College Street, Toronto, M5S 3G9, Canada.
7
Montréal Neurological Institute, McGill University, Montréal, QC, H3A 2B4, Canada.
8
CHU Sainte-Justine, 3175 Chemin de la Cote, Sainte-Catherine, Montreal, QC, H3T 1C5, Canada.
9
ECOBES, Recherche et transfert, Cegep de Jonquière, Jonquière, QC, G7X 3W1, Canada.
10
Université du Québec a Chicoutimi, Saguenay, QC, G7H 2B1, Canada.
11
Département des sciences de la santé, Université du Québec à Chicoutimi, Chicoutimi, QC, G7H 2B1, Canada.
12
The Hospital of Sick Children, Toronto, ON, M5G 1X8, Canada.
13
Centre de recherche, Centre hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal, Montreal, QC, H2L 4M1, Canada.
14
Rotman Research Institute, University of Toronto, 3560 Bathurst Street, Toronto, ON, M6A 2E1, Canada. tpaus@research.baycrest.org.
15
School of Psychology, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, NG72RD, UK. tpaus@research.baycrest.org.

Abstract

We used magnetic resonance (MR) images obtained in same-sex and opposite-sex dizygotic twins (n = 119, 8 years of age) to study possible effects of prenatal androgens on craniofacial features. Using a principal component analysis of 19 craniofacial landmarks placed on the MR images, we identified a principal component capturing craniofacial features that distinguished females with a presumed differential exposure to prenatal androgens by virtue of having a male (vs. a female) co-twin (Cohen's d = 0.76). Subsequently, we tested the possibility that this craniofacial "signature" of prenatal exposure to androgens predicts brain size, a known sexually dimorphic trait. In an independent sample of female adolescents (singletons; n = 462), we found that the facial signature predicts up to 8% of variance in brain size. These findings are consistent with the organizational effects of androgens on brain development and suggest that the facial signature derived in this study could complement other indirect measures of prenatal exposure to androgens.

KEYWORDS:

Adolescents; Brain; Face; MRI; Prenatal androgens; Twins

PMID:
25074752
DOI:
10.1007/s00429-014-0852-3
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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