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See detailSex Differences in White Matter Microstructure in the Human Brain Predominantly Reflect Differences in Sex Hormone Exposure.
van Hemmen, J.; Saris, I. M. J.; Cohen-Kettenis, P. T. et al

in Cerebral cortex (New York, N.Y. : 1991) (2017)

Sex differences have been described regarding several aspects of human brain morphology; however, the exact biological mechanisms underlying these differences remain unclear in humans. Women with the ... [more ▼]

Sex differences have been described regarding several aspects of human brain morphology; however, the exact biological mechanisms underlying these differences remain unclear in humans. Women with the complete androgen insensitivity syndrome (CAIS), who lack androgen action in the presence of a 46,XY karyotype, offer the unique opportunity to study isolated effects of sex hormones and sex chromosomes on human neural sexual differentiation. In the present study, we used diffusion tensor imaging to investigate white matter (WM) microstructure in 46,XY women with CAIS (n = 20), 46,XY comparison men (n = 30), and 46,XX comparison women (n = 30). Widespread sex differences in fractional anisotropy (FA), with higher FA in comparison men than in comparison women, were observed. Women with CAIS showed female-typical FA throughout extended WM regions, predominantly due to female-typical radial diffusivity. These findings indicate a predominant role of sex hormones in the sexual differentiation of WM microstructure, although sex chromosome genes and/or masculinizing androgen effects not mediated by the androgen receptor might also play a role. [less ▲]

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See detailCharacterizing thalamo-cortical disturbances in schizophrenia and bipolar illness.
Anticevic, Alan; Cole, Michael W.; Repovs, Grega et al

in Cerebral cortex (New York, N.Y. : 1991) (2014), 24(12), 3116-30

Schizophrenia is a devastating neuropsychiatric syndrome associated with distributed brain dysconnectivity that may involve large-scale thalamo-cortical systems. Incomplete characterization of thalamic ... [more ▼]

Schizophrenia is a devastating neuropsychiatric syndrome associated with distributed brain dysconnectivity that may involve large-scale thalamo-cortical systems. Incomplete characterization of thalamic connectivity in schizophrenia limits our understanding of its relationship to symptoms and to diagnoses with shared clinical presentation, such as bipolar illness, which may exist on a spectrum. Using resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging, we characterized thalamic connectivity in 90 schizophrenia patients versus 90 matched controls via: (1) Subject-specific anatomically defined thalamic seeds; (2) anatomical and data-driven clustering to assay within-thalamus dysconnectivity; and (3) machine learning to classify diagnostic membership via thalamic connectivity for schizophrenia and for 47 bipolar patients and 47 matched controls. Schizophrenia analyses revealed functionally related disturbances: Thalamic over-connectivity with bilateral sensory-motor cortices, which predicted symptoms, but thalamic under-connectivity with prefrontal-striatal-cerebellar regions relative to controls, possibly reflective of sensory gating and top-down control disturbances. Clustering revealed that this dysconnectivity was prominent for thalamic nuclei densely connected with the prefrontal cortex. Classification and cross-diagnostic results suggest that thalamic dysconnectivity may be a neural marker for disturbances across diagnoses. Present findings, using one of the largest schizophrenia and bipolar neuroimaging samples to date, inform basic understanding of large-scale thalamo-cortical systems and provide vital clues about the complex nature of its disturbances in severe mental illness. [less ▲]

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