Relationship among interthalamic adhesion size, thalamic anatomy and neuropsychological functions in healthy volunteers
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The interthalamic adhesion (ITA) is an understudied neuroanatomical structure that forms a bridge of tissue connecting the thalamus of each hemisphere across the midline whose functional significance remains largely unknown. The likelihood of ITA absence has been reported in some studies to be increased in males, but findings have been inconsistent. We used magnetic resonance imaging to investigate the size and absence of the ITA and their relationship to thalamic volume, putative indices of white matter integrity (fractional anisotropy and mean diffusivity) within the anterior thalamic radiation and neuropsychological functions in 233 (129 M/104 F) healthy volunteers (age range 8–68). To ensure high reliability in this study two operators independently rated the absence of the ITA and measured its size for all individuals. The ITA was absent in 4% of all individuals with no sex differences in its absence. Females had greater ITA size compared to males overall with both groups demonstrating nonlinear age-associated changes across the age range examined. ITA size among females correlated significantly with thalamus volume and lower mean diffusivity in the anterior thalamic radiation. Path modeling indicated that ITA size statistically mediated the relationship between age and attention among females. Our findings provide evidence for sex differences in ITA size across the lifespan, which are associated with the surrounding thalamic anatomy and neuropsychological functions.
KeywordsInterthalamic adhesion Magnetic resonance imaging Diffusion tensor imaging Thalamus Sex effects
This work was supported in part by Grants from the National Institute of Mental Health to Dr. Szeszko (R01 MH076995), the NSLIJ Research Institute General Clinical Research Center (M01 RR018535), an Advanced Center for Intervention and Services Research (P30 MH090590) and a Center for Intervention Development and Applied Research (P50 MH080173).
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