Investigating sexual dimorphism in human brain structure by combining multiple indexes of brain morphology and source-based morphometry

Gianpaolo Del Mauro, Nicola Del Maschio, Simone Sulpizio, Davide Fedeli, Daniela Perani, Jubin Abutalebi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Computational morphometry of magnetic resonance images represents a powerful tool for studying macroscopic differences in human brains. In the present study (N participants = 829), we combined different techniques and measures of brain morphology to investigate one of the most compelling topics in neuroscience: sexual dimorphism in human brain structure. When accounting for overall larger male brains, results showed limited sex differences in gray matter volume (GMV) and surface area. On the other hand, we found larger differences in cortical thickness, favoring both males and females, arguably as a result of region-specific differences. We also observed higher values of fractal dimension, a measure of cortical complexity, for males versus females across the four lobes. In addition, we applied source-based morphometry, an alternative method for measuring GMV based on the independent component analysis. Analyses on independent components revealed higher GMV in fronto-parietal regions, thalamus and caudate nucleus for females, and in cerebellar- temporal cortices and putamen for males, a pattern that is largely consistent with previous findings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-21
Number of pages11
JournalBrain Structure and Function
Volume227
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022

Keywords

  • Cortical thickness
  • Fractal dimension
  • Gray matter volume
  • Sex differences
  • Source-based morphometry
  • Surface area

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Histology

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