Sexual differentiation of the adolescent rat brain: A longitudinal voxel-based morphometry study

Akira Sumiyoshi, Hiroi Nonaka, Ryuta Kawashima

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The sexual differentiation of the rat brain during the adolescent period has been well documented in post-mortem histological studies. However, to further understand the morphological changes occurring in the entire brain, a noninvasive neuroimaging method allowing an unbiased, comprehensive, and longitudinal investigation of brain morphology should be used. In this study, we investigated the sexual differentiation of the rat brain during the adolescent period using longitudinal voxel-based morphometry (VBM) analysis. Male and female Wistar rats (n = 12 of each) were scanned in a 7.0-T MRI scanner at five time points from 6 to 10 weeks of age. The T2-weighted MRI images were segmented using the rat brain tissue priors that have been published by our laboratory. At the global level, the results of the VBM analysis showed greater increases in total gray matter volume in the males during the adolescent period, although we did not find significant differences in total white matter volume. At the voxel level, we found significant increases in the regional gray matter volume of the occipital cortex, amygdala, hippocampal formation, and cerebellum. At the regional level, only the occipital cortex in the females exhibited decreases during the adolescent period. These results were, at least in part, consistent with those of previous longitudinal VBM studies in humans, thus providing translational evidence of the sexual differentiation of the developing brain between rodents and humans.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)168-173
Number of pages6
JournalNeuroscience Letters
Volume642
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Mar 6

Keywords

  • Adolescence
  • Longitudinal VBM
  • Sexual differentiation
  • Translational research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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