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Cereb Cortex. 2018 Apr 1;28(4):1272-1281. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhx040.

Inter-Regional Variations in Gene Expression and Age-Related Cortical Thinning in the Adolescent Brain.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, University of Toronto, Toronto M5S 3G3, Canada.
2
Rotman Research Institute, Baycrest, Toronto M6A 2E1, Canada.
3
Campbell Family Mental Health Research Institute, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto M5T 1R8, Canada.
4
Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, Toronto M5T 1R8, Canada.
5
Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University, Montréal H3A 2B4, Canada.
6
ECOBES, Cégep de Jonquière, Jonquière G7X 7W2, Canada.
7
University of Quebec in Chicoutimi, Chicoutimi G7H 2B1, Canada.
8
Department of Radiology and Hotchkiss Brain Institute, University of Calgary, Calgary T2N 4N1, Canada.
9
The Hospital for Sick Children, University of Toronto, Toronto M5G 1X8, Canada.
10
Child Mind Institute, New York, NY 10022, USA.

Abstract

Age-related decreases in cortical thickness observed during adolescence may be related to fluctuations in sex and stress hormones. We examine this possibility by relating inter-regional variations in age-related cortical thinning (data from the Saguenay Youth Study) to inter-regional variations in expression levels of relevant genes (data from the Allen Human Brain Atlas); we focus on genes coding for glucocorticoid receptor (NR3C1), androgen receptor (AR), progesterone receptor (PGR), and estrogen receptors (ESR1 and ESR2). Across 34 cortical regions (Desikan-Killiany parcellation), age-related cortical thinning varied as a function of mRNA expression levels of NR3C1 in males (R2 = 0.46) and females (R2 = 0.30) and AR in males only (R2 = 0.25). Cortical thinning did not vary as a function of expression levels of PGR, ESR1, or ESR2 in either sex; this might be due to the observed low consistency of expression profiles of these 3 genes across donors. Inter-regional levels of the NR3C1 and AR expression interacted with each other vis-à-vis cortical thinning: age-related cortical thinning varied as a function of NR3C1 mRNA expression in brain regions with low (males: R2 = 0.64; females: R2 = 0.58) but not high (males: R2 = 0.0045; females: R2 = 0.15) levels of AR mRNA expression. These results suggest that glucocorticoid and androgen receptors contribute to cortical maturation during adolescence.

PMID:
28334178
PMCID:
PMC6093352
DOI:
10.1093/cercor/bhx040
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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