Age effects on cortical thickness in young Down’s syndrome subjects: a cross-sectional gender study
The aim of this study was to determine differences in the characteristic pattern of age-related cortical thinning in men and women with Down’s syndrome (DS) by means of MRI and automatic cortical thickness measurements and a cross-sectional design, in a large cohort of young subjects.
Eighty-four subjects with DS, 30 females (11–35 years, mean age ± SD = 22.8 ± 5.9) and 54 males (11–35 years, mean age ± SD = 21.5 ± 6.5), were examined using a 1.5-T scanner. MRI-based quantification of cortical thickness was performed using FreeSurfer software package. For all subjects participating in the study, the Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient between age and mean cortical thickness values has been evaluated.
A significant negative correlation between cortical thickness and age was found in female DS subjects, predominantly in frontal and parietal lobes, bilaterally. In male DS subjects, a significant negative correlation between cortical thickness and age was found in the right fronto-temporal lobes and cingulate regions. Whole brain mean cortical thickness values were significantly negative correlated with age only in female DS subjects.
Females with Down’s syndrome showed a strong correlation between cortical thickness and age, already in early age. We suggest that the cognitive impairment due to hormonal deficit in the postmenopausal period could be emphasized by the early structural decline of gray matter in female DS subjects.
KeywordsGender Down’s syndrome MRI Free-surfer Aging
Ethical standards and patient consent
We declare that all human and animal studies have been approved by our Institutional Ethics Committee and have therefore been performed in accordance with the ethical standards laid down in the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments. We declare that all patients gave informed consent prior to inclusion in this study.
Conflict of interest
We declare that we have no conflict of interest.
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