Influence of age, sex and genetic factors on the human brain
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We report effects of age, age2, sex and additive genetic factors on variability in gray matter thickness, surface area and white matter integrity in 1,010 subjects from the Genetics of Brain Structure and Function Study. Age was more strongly associated with gray matter thickness and fractional anisotropy of water diffusion in white matter tracts, while sex was more strongly associated with gray matter surface area. Widespread heritability of neuroanatomic traits was observed, suggesting that brain structure is under strong genetic control. Furthermore, our findings indicate that neuroimaging-based measurements of cerebral variability are sensitive to genetic mediation. Fundamental studies of genetic influence on the brain will help inform gene discovery initiatives in both clinical and normative samples.
KeywordsAnatomical MRI Extended pedigrees Imaging genetics Heritability Demographic covariates Aging
We are grateful to the participants in the San Antonio Family Study. Financial support for this study was provided by the National Institute of Mental Health grants MH078143, MH078111 and MH083824; and the National Institute for Heart, Lungs and Blood grant HL045222. The development of the analytical methods and SOLAR software used in this study was supported by National Institute of Mental Health grant R37 MH059490.
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