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Neurobiol Learn Mem. 1995 Mar;63(2):133-42.

Age, gender, and hemispheric differences in human striatum: a quantitative review and new data from in vivo MRI morphometry.

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Department of Psychology, University of Memphis, Tennessee 38152, USA.


We reviewed postmortem and neuroimaging studies of striatal neuroanatomy in humans. The quantitative review revealed evidence of moderate age-related shrinkage of the caudate nucleus and the putamen and consistent leftward asymmetry of the globus pallidus. The data on sex differences were very sparse. We examined neostriatal structures in two samples (healthy volunteers and patients with negative radiological findings) using in vivo magnetic resonance imaging. In both samples, bilateral age-related shrinkage of the caudate nucleus was found, although among the patients the effect was significant only for males. The putamen was measured only in the second sample, and age-related reduction in its volume was found also only among males. A trend for rightward asymmetry in the volume of caudate nucleus was observed in both samples, although it reached statistical significance only among the patients. Putative pathological and physiological mechanisms underlying the observed differences in teh neostriatum are discussed.

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