Sex differences in the human connectome: 4-Tesla high angular resolution diffusion imaging (HARDI) tractography in 234 young adult twins


Journal Article

Cortical connectivity is associated with cognitive and behavioral traits that are thought to vary between sexes. Using high-angular resolution diffusion imaging at 4 Tesla, we scanned 234 young adult twins and siblings (mean age: 23.4 2.0 SD years) with 94 diffusion-encoding directions. We applied a novel Hough transform method to extract fiber tracts throughout the entire brain, based on fields of constant solid angle orientation distribution functions (ODFs). Cortical surfaces were generated from each subject's 3D T1-weighted structural MRI scan, and tracts were aligned to the anatomy. Network analysis revealed the proportions of fibers interconnecting 5 key subregions of the frontal cortex, including connections between hemispheres. We found significant sex differences (147 women/87 men) in the proportions of fibers connecting contralateral superior frontal cortices. Interhemispheric connectivity was greater in women, in line with long-standing theories of hemispheric specialization. These findings may be relevant for ongoing studies of the human connectome. © 2011 IEEE.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Jahanshad, N; Aganj, I; Lenglet, C; Joshi, A; Jin, Y; Barysheva, M; McMahon, KL; De Zubicaray, GI; Martin, NG; Wright, MJ; Toga, AW; Sapiro, G; Thompson, PM

Published Date

  • November 2, 2011

Published In

Start / End Page

  • 939 - 943

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1945-8452

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1945-7928

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1109/ISBI.2011.5872558

Citation Source

  • Scopus