Men and women are different: diffusion tensor imaging reveals sexual dimorphism in the microstructure of the thalamus, corpus callosum and cingulum.
ABSTRACT Numerous magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies have addressed the question of morphological differences of the brain of men and women, reporting conflicting results regarding brain size and the ratio of gray and white matter. In the present study, we used diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) to delineate sex differences of brain white matter.
We investigated brain microstructure in 25 male and 25 female healthy subjects using a 3T MRI scanner. Whole-head DTI scans were analyzed without a-priori hypothesis using Tract-Based Spatial Statistics (TBSS) calculating maps of fractional anisotropy (FA), radial diffusivity (RD, a potential marker of glial alteration and changes in myelination) and axial diffusivity (AD, a potential marker of axonal changes).
DTI revealed regional microstructural differences between the brains of male and female subjects. Those were prominent in the thalamus, corpus callosum and cingulum. Men showed significantly (p<0.0001) higher values of fractional anisotropy and lower radial diffusivity in these areas, suggesting that the observed differences are mainly due to differences in myelination.
As a novel finding we showed widespread differences in thalamic microstructure that have not been described previously. Additionally, the present study confirmed earlier DTI studies focusing on sexual dimorphism in the corpus callosum and cingulum. All changes appear to be based on differences in myelination. The sex differences in thalamic microstructure call for further studies on the underlying cause and the behavioral correlates of this sexual dimorphism. Future DTI group studies may carefully control for gender to avoid confounding.
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ABSTRACT: To assess the possibility that diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) can detect white matter damage in mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) patients via systematic review and meta-analysis. DTI studies that compared mTBI patients and controls were searched using MEDLINE, Web of Science, and EMBASE, (1980 through April 2012). A comprehensive literature search identified 28 DTI studies, of which 13 independent DTI studies of mTBI patients were eligible for the meta-analysis. Random effect model demonstrated significant fractional anisotropy (FA) reduction in the corpus callosum (CC) (p=0.023, 95% CIs -0.466 to -0.035, 280 mTBIs and 244 controls) with no publication bias and minimum heterogeneity, and a significant increase in mean diffusivity (MD) (p=0.015, 95% CIs 0.062 to 0.581, 154 mTBIs and 100 controls). Meta-analyses of the subregions of the CC demonstrated in the splenium FA was significantly reduced (p=0.025, 95% CIs -0.689 to -0.046) and MD was significantly increased (p=0.013, 95% CIs 0.113 to 0.950). FA was marginally reduced in the midbody (p=0.099, 95% CIs -0.404 to 0.034), and no significant change in FA (p=0.421, 95% CIs -0.537 to 0.224) and MD (p=0.264, 95% CIs -0.120 to 0.438) in the genu of the CC. Our meta-analysis revealed the posterior part of the CC was more vulnerable to mTBI compared with the anterior part, and suggested the potential utility of DTI to detect white matter damage in the CC of mTBI patients.Journal of neurology, neurosurgery, and psychiatry 07/2012; 83(9):870-6. · 4.87 Impact Factor
Article: CSF T-Tau/Aβ42 predicts white matter microstructure in healthy adults at risk for Alzheimer's disease.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarkers T-Tau and Aβ(42) are linked with Alzheimer's disease (AD), yet little is known about the relationship between CSF biomarkers and structural brain alteration in healthy adults. In this study we examined the extent to which AD biomarkers measured in CSF predict brain microstructure indexed by diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and volume indexed by T1-weighted imaging. Forty-three middle-aged adults with parental family history of AD received baseline lumbar puncture and MRI approximately 3.5 years later. Voxel-wise image analysis methods were used to test whether baseline CSF Aβ(42), total tau (T-Tau), phosphorylated tau (P-Tau) and neurofilament light protein predicted brain microstructure as indexed by DTI and gray matter volume indexed by T1-weighted imaging. T-Tau and T-Tau/Aβ(42) were widely correlated with indices of brain microstructure (mean, axial, and radial diffusivity), notably in white matter regions adjacent to gray matter structures affected in the earliest stages of AD. None of the CSF biomarkers were related to gray matter volume. Elevated P-Tau and P-Tau/Aβ(42) levels were associated with lower recognition performance on the Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test. Overall, the results suggest that CSF biomarkers are related to brain microstructure in healthy adults with elevated risk of developing AD. Furthermore, the results clearly suggest that early pathological changes in AD can be detected with DTI and occur not only in cortex, but also in white matter.PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(6):e37720. · 4.09 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: In recent years, more and more emphasis has been placed on the investigation of sex differences in the human brain. Noninvasive neuroimaging techniques represent an essential tool in the effort to better understand the effects of sex on both brain structure and function. In this review, we provide a comprehensive summary of the findings that were collected in human neuroimaging studies in vivo thus far: we explore sexual dimorphism in the human brain at the level of (1) brain structure, in both gray and white matter, observed by voxel-based morphometry (VBM) and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), respectively; (2) baseline neural activity, studied using resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI) and positron emission tomography (PET); (3) neurochemistry, visualized by means of neuroreceptor ligand PET; and (4) task-related neural activation, investigated using fMRI. Functional MRI findings from the literature are complemented by our own meta-analysis of fMRI studies on sex-specific differences in human emotional processing. Specifically, we used activation likelihood estimation (ALE) to provide a quantitative approach to mapping the consistency of neural networks involved in emotional processing across studies. The presented evidence for sex-specific differences in neural structure and function highlights the importance of modeling sex as a contributing factor in the analysis of brain-related data.Magnetic Resonance Imaging 08/2012; · 1.99 Impact Factor