Response control correlates of anomalous basal ganglia morphology in boys, but not girls, with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder

Xiaoying Tang, Karen E. Seymour, Deana Crocetti, Michael I. Miller, Stewart H. Mostofsky, Keri S. Rosch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Anomalous basal ganglia morphology may contribute to deficient motor response control in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). This study expands upon recent evidence of sex differences in subcortical morphology and motor response control deficits among children with ADHD to examine basal ganglia volume and shape in relation to motor response control. Participants included 8–12 year-old children with ADHD (n = 52, 21 girls) and typically developing (TD) controls (n = 45, 19 girls). High resolution T1-weighted 3D MPRAGE images covering the whole brain were acquired for all participants on a 3 T scanner. Participants performed two computer-based go/no-go tasks that differed in the extent to which working memory was necessary to guide response selection. Shape-based morphometric analyses were performed in addition to traditional volumetric comparisons and correlations with measures of motor response control were examined. Boys with ADHD consistently demonstrated increased commission error rate and response variability, regardless of task demands, suggesting broad response control deficits. In contrast, response control deficits among girls with ADHD varied depending on task demands and performance measures. Volumetric reductions and inward deformation (compression) on the dorsal surface of the globus pallidus and within subregions of the putamen receiving projections from limbic, executive and motor cortices were observed in boys, but not girls, with ADHD relative to TD children. Mediation analyses revealed that putamen and globus pallidus volumes mediated the relationship between diagnosis and commission error rate. Furthermore, reduced volumes of these structures and localized inward deformation within executive and motor circuits correlated with poorer response control, particularly under conditions of increased cognitive load. These findings suggest that anomalous basal ganglia morphology is related to impaired motor response control among boys with ADHD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)117-127
Number of pages11
JournalBehavioural Brain Research
StatePublished - Jul 23 2019


  • ADHD
  • Basal ganglia
  • Inhibition
  • MRI
  • Response control
  • Sex differences

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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