Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Sex-specific changes in cerebral blood flow begin at puberty

Date:
May 26, 2014
Source:
Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania
Summary:
Cerebral blood flow (CBF) levels decreased similarly in males and females before puberty, but researchers saw them diverge sharply in puberty, with levels increasing in females while decreasing further in males, which could give hints as to developing differences in behavior in men and women and sex-specific pre-dispositions to certain psychiatric disorders.

Studies on structural brain development have shown that puberty is an important source of sex differences.
Credit: ra2 studio / Fotolia

Puberty is the defining process of adolescent development, beginning a cascade of changes throughout the body, including the brain. Penn Medicine researchers have discovered that cerebral blood flow (CBF) levels decreased similarly in males and females before puberty, but saw them diverge sharply in puberty, with levels increasing in females while decreasing further in males, which could give hints as to developing differences in behavior in men and women and sex-specific pre-dispositions to certain psychiatric disorders.

Related Articles


Their findings are available in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS).

"These findings help us understand normal neurodevelopment and could be a step towards creating normal 'growth charts' for brain development in kids. These results also show what every parent knows: boys and girls grow differently. This applies to the brain as well," says Theodore D. Satterthwaite, MD, MA, assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. "Hopefully, one day such growth charts might allow us to identify abnormal brain development much earlier before it leads to major mental illness."

Studies on structural brain development have shown that puberty is an important source of sex differences. Previous work has shown that CBF declines throughout childhood, but the effects of puberty on properties of brain physiology such as CBF, also known as cerebral perfusion, are not well known. "We know that adult women have higher blood flow than men, but it was not clear when that difference began, so we hypothesized that the gap between women and men would begin in adolescence and coincide with puberty," Satterthwaite says.

The Penn team imaged the brains of 922 youth ages 8 through 22 using arterial spin labeled (ASL) MRI. The youth were all members of the Philadelphia Neurodevelopmental Cohort, a National Institute of Mental Health-funded collaboration between the University of Pennsylvania Brain Behavior Laboratory and the Center for Applied Genomics at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

They found support for their hypothesis.

Age related differences were observed in the amount and location of blood flow in males versus females, with blood flow declining at a similar rate before puberty and diverging markedly in mid-puberty. At around age 16, while male CBF values continue to decline with advanced age, females CBF values actually increased. This resulted in females having notably higher CBF than males by the end of adolescence. The difference between males and females was most notable in parts of the brain that are critical for social behaviors and emotion regulation such as the orbitofrontal cortex. The researchers speculate that such differences could be related to females' well-established superior performance on social cognition tasks. Potentially, these effects could also be related to the higher risk in women for depression and anxiety disorders, and higher risk of flat affect and schizophrenia in men.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. T. D. Satterthwaite, R. T. Shinohara, D. H. Wolf, R. D. Hopson, M. A. Elliott, S. N. Vandekar, K. Ruparel, M. E. Calkins, D. R. Roalf, E. D. Gennatas, C. Jackson, G. Erus, K. Prabhakaran, C. Davatzikos, J. A. Detre, H. Hakonarson, R. C. Gur, R. E. Gur. Impact of puberty on the evolution of cerebral perfusion during adolescence. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2014; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1400178111

Cite This Page:

Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. "Sex-specific changes in cerebral blood flow begin at puberty." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 May 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140526182646.htm>.
Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. (2014, May 26). Sex-specific changes in cerebral blood flow begin at puberty. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140526182646.htm
Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. "Sex-specific changes in cerebral blood flow begin at puberty." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140526182646.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Academic Scandal Shocks UNC

Academic Scandal Shocks UNC

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) A scandal involving bogus classes and inflated grades at the University of North Carolina was bigger than previously reported, a new investigation found. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Working Mother Getaway: Beaches Turks & Caicos

Working Mother Getaway: Beaches Turks & Caicos

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) Feast your eyes on this gorgeous family-friendly resort. Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
What Your Favorite Color Says About You

What Your Favorite Color Says About You

Buzz60 (Oct. 22, 2014) We all have one color we love to wear, and believe it or not, your color preference may reveal some of your character traits. In celebration of National Color Day, Krystin Goodwin (@kyrstingoodwin) highlights what your favorite colors may say about you. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) A medical team has for the first time given a man the ability to walk again after transplanting cells from his brain onto his severed spinal cord. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins