Sex differences in corpus callosum size: Relationship to age and intracranial size

Edith V. Sullivan, Margaret J. Rosenbloom, John E. Desmond, Adolf Pfefferbaum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This quantitative MRI study reports measurement of corpus callosum area taken from midsagittal brain images in 51 healthy men and 41 healthy women, spanning the adult age range (22 to 71 years). Men had larger brains and corpora callosa than women, but callosal size did not correlate with age in either sex. Intracranial (i.c.) volume (ICV) and midsagittal i.c. area (ICA) of brain were used in covariate, regression, and ratio analyses to determine whether sex differences in the corpus callosum endured with statistical adjustment for sex differences in maximally attained brain size. With the exception of one ratio measure, the different statistical adjustments for the contribution of sex differences in brain size to corpus callosum size all indicated that men had larger corpora callosa than women for their brain size. A subsample of men and women selected to be matched on i.c. volume and age confirmed this statistical observation. Sexual dimorphism in the corpus callosum is not a simple artifact of sex differences in brain size and may reflect differences in connectivity necessitated by differences in brain size.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)603-611
Number of pages9
JournalNeurobiology of Aging
Volume22
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 14 2001
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Brain size
  • Corpus callosum
  • Normal aging
  • Sexual dimorphism
  • White matter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Aging
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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