A large-scale study on the effects of sex on gray matter asymmetry


Research on sex-related brain asymmetries has not yielded consistent results. Despite its importance to further understanding of normal brain development and mental disorders, the field remains relatively unexplored. Here we employ a recently developed asymmetry measure, based on the Dice coefficient, to detect sex-related gray matter asymmetries in a sample of 457 healthy participants (266 men and 191 women) obtained from 5 independent databases. Results show that women’s brains are more globally symmetric than men’s (p < 0.001). Although the new measure accounts for asymmetries distributed all over the brain, several specific structures were identified as systematically more symmetric in women, such as the thalamus and the cerebellum, among other structures, some of which are typically involved in language production. These sex-related asymmetry differences may be defined at the neurodevelopmental stage and could be associated with functional and cognitive sex differences, as well as with proneness to develop a mental disorder.

Publication DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00429-017-1481-4
Divisions: College of Health & Life Sciences > School of Psychology
College of Health & Life Sciences > Clinical and Systems Neuroscience
College of Health & Life Sciences
Additional Information: The final publication is available at Springer via http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00429-017-1481-4
Publication ISSN: 1863-2653
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2024 07:26
Date Deposited: 01 Aug 2017 14:10
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2018-01-01
Published Online Date: 2017-07-26
Accepted Date: 2017-07-20
Submitted Date: 2017-04-10
Authors: Núñez, Christian
Theofanopoulou, Constantina
Senior, Carl (ORCID Profile 0000-0002-2155-4139)
Cambra, Maria Rosa
Usall, Judith
Stephan-Otto, Christian
Brébion, Gildas



Version: Accepted Version

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