Identifying craniofacial features associated with prenatal exposure to androgens and testing their relationship with brain development
- 296 Downloads
We used magnetic resonance (MR) images obtained in same-sex and opposite-sex dizygotic twins (n = 119, 8 years of age) to study possible effects of prenatal androgens on craniofacial features. Using a principal component analysis of 19 craniofacial landmarks placed on the MR images, we identified a principal component capturing craniofacial features that distinguished females with a presumed differential exposure to prenatal androgens by virtue of having a male (vs. a female) co-twin (Cohen’s d = 0.76). Subsequently, we tested the possibility that this craniofacial “signature” of prenatal exposure to androgens predicts brain size, a known sexually dimorphic trait. In an independent sample of female adolescents (singletons; n = 462), we found that the facial signature predicts up to 8 % of variance in brain size. These findings are consistent with the organizational effects of androgens on brain development and suggest that the facial signature derived in this study could complement other indirect measures of prenatal exposure to androgens.
KeywordsPrenatal androgens Twins Adolescents MRI Face Brain
The Saguenay Youth Study was funded by the Canadian Institute of Health Research, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Quebec, and the Canadian Foundation of Innovation. The Quebec Newborn Twin Study was funded by Canadian Institute of Health Research and Fonds de la recherche en santé du Quebec. We would like to thank SciNet for access to its supercomputer platform, which is funded by the Canada Foundation for Innovation, NSERC, the Government of Ontario, FedDev Ontario, and the University of Toronto. Finally, we would also like to thank the European Social Fund and the government of Czech Republic who co-financed the project „Employment of Newly Graduated Doctors of Science for Scientific Excellence (grant number CZ.1.07/2.3.00/30.0009).
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
- Anblagan D, Jones NW, Costigan C, Parker AJJ, Allcock K, Aleong R, Coyne LH, Deshpande R, Fenning NR, Bugg G, Roberts N, Pausova Z, Paus T, Gowland PA (2013) Maternal smoking during pregnancy and fetal organ growth: a magnetic resonance imaging study. PLoS One 8(6):e67223. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0067223
- Chakravarty M, Aleong R, Leonard G, Perron M, Pike B, Richer L, Veillette S, Pausova Z, Paus T (2011) Automated analysis of craniofacial morphology using magnetic resonance images. PLoS One 6(5):e20241. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0020241
- Chura LR, Lombardo MV, Ashwin E, Auyenung B, Chakrabarti B, Bullmore ET, Cohen SB (2010) Organizational effects of fetal testosterone on human corpus callosum size and asymmetry. Psychoneuroendocrinology 35(1):122–132Google Scholar
- Cootes TF, Taylor CJ (1992) Active shape models – ‘smart snakes’. In: Hogg D, Boyle R (eds) BMVC92. Springer-Verlag, London, pp 266–275Google Scholar
- Diewert VM, Lozanoff S (1993) A morphometric analysis of human embryonic craniofacial growth in the median plane during primary palate formation. J Craniofac Genet Dev Biol 13:184–192Google Scholar
- McIntyre MH (2006) The use of digit ratios as markers for perinatal androgen action. Reprod Biol Endocrinol 4(10). doi: 10.1186/1477-7827-4-10
- Medland SE, Loehlin JC, Willemsen G, Hatemi PK, Keller MC, Boomsma DI, Eaves LJ, Martin NG (2008) Males do not reduce the fitness of their female cotwins in contemporary samples, Twin Res. Hum Genet 11:481–487Google Scholar
- Paus T (2013) Population neuroscience. Springer-Verlag, Berlin, Heidelberg, ISBN-10: 3642364497Google Scholar
- Paus T, Bernard M, Chakravarty MM, Smith GD, Gillis J, Lourdusamy A, Leonard G, Melka MG, Pavlidis P, Perron M, Pike GB, Richer L, Schumann G, Timpson N, Toro R, Veillette S, Pausova Z (2012) KCTD8 gene and brain growth in adverse intrauterine environment: a genome-wide association study. Cereb Cortex 22:2634–2642PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Sibson R (1978) Studies in the robustness of multidimensional scaling: procrustes statistics. J Roy Stat Soc 40:234–238Google Scholar
- Sperber GH, Sperber SM, Guttmann GD (2000) Craniofacial embryogenetics and development, Shelton, CT: People’s Medical Pub. House, USAGoogle Scholar
- Valla K, Halazonetis DJ (2014) Correlation of 2D:4D digit ratio and craniofacial shape in prepubertal children. Am J Hum Biol 26(3):337–346Google Scholar
- Van de Beek C, Thijssen JHH, Cohen-Kettenis PT, van Goozen SHM, Buitelaar JK (2004) Relationships between sex hormones assessed in amniotic fluid, and maternal and umbilical cord serum: what is the best source of information to investigate the effects of fetal hormonal exposure? Horm Behav 46:663–669CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar