Age- and sex-related effects on the neuroanatomy of healthy elderly

Groupe d'Imagerie Neurofonctionnelle, UMR 6194, CNRS, CEA, Universités de Caen et Paris 5, GIP Cyceron, BP5229, F-14074 Caen, France.
NeuroImage (Impact Factor: 6.36). 08/2005; 26(3):900-11. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2005.02.042
Source: PubMed


Effects of age and sex, and their interaction on the structural brain anatomy of healthy elderly were assessed thanks to a cross-sectional study of a cohort of 662 subjects aged from 63 to 75 years. T1- and T2-weighted MRI scans were acquired in each subject and further processed using a voxel-based approach that was optimized for the identification of the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) compartment. Analysis of covariance revealed a classical neuroanatomy sexual dimorphism, men exhibiting larger gray matter (GM), white matter (WM), and CSF compartment volumes, together with larger WM and CSF fractions, whereas women showed larger GM fraction. GM and WM were found to significantly decrease with age, while CSF volume significantly increased. Tissue probability map analysis showed that the highest rates of GM atrophy in this age range were localized in primary cortices, the angular and superior parietal gyri, the orbital part of the prefrontal cortex, and in the hippocampal region. There was no significant interaction between "Sex" and "Age" for any of the tissue volumes, as well as for any of the tissue probability maps. These findings indicate that brain atrophy during the seventh and eighth decades of life is ubiquitous and proceeds at a rate that is not modulated by "Sex".

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Available from: Fabrice Crivello,
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    • "The combined effects of age and gender on the human brain have been assessed suggesting a more profound decline in GM volume in males (Ge et al. 2002a; Raz et al. 1997; Taki et al. 2004). However, research evidence is inconsistent on one hand (Lemaitre et al. 2005) and sparse on the other, especially considering the subcortical GM structures. Most of the studies focusing on subcortical nuclei applied a voxel-based morphometric approach to identify gender differences. "
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    • "Baseline and follow-up MRIs were performed using the same scanner (1.5 Tesla Magnetom; Siemens, USA) and analysed using identical procedures, as described previously (Maillard et al. 2008; Crivello et al. 2010). Tissue segmentation and brain tissue probability maps were obtained using Statistical Probability Mapping software ( and a voxel-based morphometry protocol that was modified to account for characteristics of aged brains (Good et al. 2001; Lemaitre et al. 2005) (for details, see online Supplementary Appendix). Gray matter (GM), white matter (WM), and cerebrospinal fluid volumes were computed as the integral of the voxel intensities of the modulated tissue partition images; total intracranial volume (TIV) was generated as their sum. "
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    • "For the purpose of the present study, the hippocampus was considered as a region of specific interest (ROI) given that it is a highly recognized imaging marker of brain aging (Hof and Morrison, 2004). Similar to previous studies (Lemaître et al., 2005b; Crivello et al., 2010) left and right hippocampus volumes were automatically estimated by integrating the voxel intensities of the modulated GM partition images within hippocampus limits as defined by the AAL atlas (Tzourio-Mazoyer et al., 2002). Statistical analysis was performed on the total hippocampus volume (HIP), i.e., on sum of the left and right volumes. "
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