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      Anatomical and Ultrastructural Sex Differences in Mean Diameter and Thickness of Myelinated Axons in Adult Rat Corpus Callosum Translated title: Diferencias Sexuales Anatómicas y Ultraestructurales del Diámetro Medio y Grosor de los Axones Mielinizados en el Cuerpo Calloso de Ratas Adultas

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          SUMMARY: Sexual dimorphism exists at all levels of the nervous system. These sex differences could underlie genderrelated differences in behavior and neuropsychological function, as well as the gender differences in the prevalence of various mental disorders such as autism, attention deficit disorders, and schizophrenia. Myelination, on the other hand, is a unique cellular process that can have a dramatic impact on the structure and physiology of an axon and its surrounding tissue. The corpus callosum (CC) is the largest of the brain commissures, which connects the cerebral cortices of the two hemispheres, and provides interhemispheric connectivity for information transfer and processing between cortical regions. Variation in the axonal properties of CC will alter the interhemispheric connectivity. The CC consists of myelinated and unmyelinated axons, glial cells and blood vessels. Several functional studies have reported that the function of CC is associated with its axons density and myelination properties. The sexual dimorphism in the axonal content of the CC has always been controversial; hence, the aim of this study was to analyze the differences in axons’ diameter and myelin sheath thickness of the CC between male and female rats. For this purpose, five pairs of adult male and female rats were perfused and the CC were removed and sectioned. Four sections from different subregions of the corpus callosum that represent the genu, anterior body, posterior body, and splenium of the CC were stained and electron microscopic images were captured using stereological guidelines. Later, the axons diameter and myelin sheath thickness for each subregion were calculated and compared between males and females. Our preliminary findings of the present study indicated region specific differences in the myelinated axon thickness and diameter in the CC between male and female rats.

          Translated abstract

          RESUMEN: El dimorfismo sexual existe en todos los niveles del sistema nervioso. Estas diferencias de sexo podrían ser la base de las diferencias de comportamiento y función neuropsicológica relacionadas con el sexo, así como las diferencias en la prevalencia de diversos trastornos mentales, como el autismo, los trastornos por déficit de atención y la esquizofrenia. La mielinización, por otro lado, es un proceso celular único que puede tener un impacto dramático en la estructura y fisiología de un axón y su tejido circundante. El cuerpo calloso (CC) es la mayor comisura cerebral, que conecta las cortezas cerebrales de ambos hemisferios, y proporciona la conectividad interhemisférica para la transferencia y el procesamiento de información entre regiones corticales. La variación en las propiedades axonales de CC alterará la conectividad interhemisférica. El CC consiste en axones mielinizados y no mielinizados, células gliales y vasos sanguíneos. Varios estudios funcionales han informado que la función de CC está asociada con la densidad de axones y las propiedades de mielinización. El dimorfismo sexual en el contenido axonal del CC siempre ha sido controvertido; por lo tanto, el objetivo de este estudio fue analizar las diferencias en el diámetro de los axones y el grosor de la vaina de mielina del CC entre ratas macho y hembra. Para este propósito, se perfundieron cinco pares de ratas macho y hembra adultas y se extrajeron y seccionaron las CC. Se tiñeron cuatro secciones de diferentes subregiones del cuerpo calloso que representan el genu, el cuerpo anterior, el cuerpo posterior y el esplenio y se capturaron imágenes de microscopía electrónicas utilizando referencias estereológicas. Posteriormente se calculó el diámetro de los axones y el grosor de la vaina de mielina para cada subregión y se compararon entre machos y hembras. Nuestros hallazgos preliminares del presente estudio indicaron diferencias específicas en el grosor y diámetro del axón mielinizado en el CC entre ratas macho y hembra.

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          Most cited references 52

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            Sex differences in temporo-limbic and frontal brain volumes of healthy adults.

            Sex differences have been observed in neurobehavioral measures and in neuroanatomic studies. Men and women differ in emotion processing, including perception, experience and expression, most notably reflected in greater male aggression. We examine temporo-limbic and prefrontal structures volumetrically in a large well-characterized sample of healthy adults, applying morphometric methods across cerebral regions that regulate emotions. Quantitative magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was performed in 116 healthy adults, 57 men and 59 women, age range 18-49 years. We used reliable methods of region of interest identification to examine sex differences in volume of temporo-limbic and frontal regions. An automated tissue segmentation procedure was used to obtain separate measurements for gray and white matter. After correcting for cranial volume, men and women had identical volumes of amygdala and hippocampus, as well as dorsal prefrontal cortex. However, women had larger orbital frontal cortices than men, resulting in highly significant difference in the ratio of orbital gray to amygdala volume (P = 0.002). The larger volume of cortex devoted to emotional modulation may relate to behavioral evidence for sex differences in emotion processing.
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              Gender differences in human cortical synaptic density.

              Certain cognitive functions differ in men and women, although the anatomical and functional substrates underlying these differences remain unknown. Because neocortical activity is directly related with higher brain function, numerous studies have focused on the cerebral cortex when searching for possible structural correlates of cognitive gender differences. However, there are no studies on possible gender differences at the synaptic level. In the present work we have used stereological and correlative light and electron microscopy to show that men have a significantly higher synaptic density than women in all cortical layers of the temporal neocortex. These differences may represent a microanatomical substrate contributing to the functional gender differences in brain activity.

                Author and article information

                Role: ND
                Role: ND
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                International Journal of Morphology
                Int. J. Morphol.
                Sociedad Chilena de Anatomía (Temuco, , Chile )
                April 2020
                : 38
                : 2
                : 505-512
                Amman orgnameUniversity of Jordan orgdiv1Department of Physiology Jordan
                Menoufya orgnameUniversity Menoufya Egypt
                Amman orgnameUniversity of Jordan orgdiv1Department of Pathology Jordan
                Amman orgnameUniversity of Jordan orgdiv1Department of Anatomy Jordan
                S0717-95022020000200505 S0717-9502(20)03800200505

                This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

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