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      Developmental Trajectories of Amygdala and Hippocampus from Infancy to Early Adulthood in Healthy Individuals

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          Abstract

          Knowledge of amygdalar and hippocampal development as they pertain to sex differences and laterality would help to understand not only brain development but also the relationship between brain volume and brain functions. However, few studies investigated development of these two regions, especially during infancy. The purpose of this study was to examine typical volumetric trajectories of amygdala and hippocampus from infancy to early adulthood by predicting sexual dimorphism and laterality. We performed a cross-sectional morphometric MRI study of amygdalar and hippocampal growth from 1 month to 25 years old, using 109 healthy individuals. The findings indicated significant non-linear age-related volume changes, especially during the first few years of life, in both the amygdala and hippocampus regardless of sex. The peak ages of amygdalar and hippocampal volumes came at the timing of preadolescence (9–11 years old). The female amygdala reached its peak age about one year and a half earlier than the male amygdala did. In addition, its rate of growth change decreased earlier in the females. Furthermore, both females and males displayed rightward laterality in the hippocampus, but only the males in the amygdala. The robust growth of the amygdala and hippocampus during infancy highlight the importance of this period for neural and functional development. The sex differences and laterality during development of these two regions suggest that sex-related factors such as sex hormones and functional laterality might affect brain development.

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          Most cited references 31

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          Intellectual ability and cortical development in children and adolescents.

          Children who are adept at any one of the three academic 'R's (reading, writing and arithmetic) tend to be good at the others, and grow into adults who are similarly skilled at diverse intellectually demanding activities. Determining the neuroanatomical correlates of this relatively stable individual trait of general intelligence has proved difficult, particularly in the rapidly developing brains of children and adolescents. Here we demonstrate that the trajectory of change in the thickness of the cerebral cortex, rather than cortical thickness itself, is most closely related to level of intelligence. Using a longitudinal design, we find a marked developmental shift from a predominantly negative correlation between intelligence and cortical thickness in early childhood to a positive correlation in late childhood and beyond. Additionally, level of intelligence is associated with the trajectory of cortical development, primarily in frontal regions implicated in the maturation of intelligent activity. More intelligent children demonstrate a particularly plastic cortex, with an initial accelerated and prolonged phase of cortical increase, which yields to equally vigorous cortical thinning by early adolescence. This study indicates that the neuroanatomical expression of intelligence in children is dynamic.
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            Mapping brain asymmetry.

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              Sexual dimorphism of brain developmental trajectories during childhood and adolescence.

              Human total brain size is consistently reported to be approximately 8-10% larger in males, although consensus on regionally specific differences is weak. Here, in the largest longitudinal pediatric neuroimaging study reported to date (829 scans from 387 subjects, ages 3 to 27 years), we demonstrate the importance of examining size-by-age trajectories of brain development rather than group averages across broad age ranges when assessing sexual dimorphism. Using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) we found robust male/female differences in the shapes of trajectories with total cerebral volume peaking at age 10.5 in females and 14.5 in males. White matter increases throughout this 24-year period with males having a steeper rate of increase during adolescence. Both cortical and subcortical gray matter trajectories follow an inverted U shaped path with peak sizes 1 to 2 years earlier in females. These sexually dimorphic trajectories confirm the importance of longitudinal data in studies of brain development and underline the need to consider sex matching in studies of brain development.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Role: Editor
                Journal
                PLoS One
                PLoS ONE
                plos
                plosone
                PLoS ONE
                Public Library of Science (San Francisco, USA )
                1932-6203
                2012
                9 October 2012
                : 7
                : 10
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Psychology, Graduate School of Medicine and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Toyama, Toyama, Japan
                [2 ]Department of Pediatrics, Graduate School of Medicine and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Toyama, Toyama, Japan
                [3 ]Department of Neuropsychiatry, Graduate School of Medicine and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Toyama, Toyama, Japan
                [4 ]Department of Radiology, Graduate School of Medicine and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Toyama, Toyama, Japan
                [5 ]Department of System Emotional Science, Graduate School of Medicine and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Toyama, Toyama, Japan
                George Mason University/Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study, United States of America
                Author notes

                Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

                Conceived and designed the experiments: MM AU. Performed the experiments: AU CT KN MM. Analyzed the data: AU CT MM. Contributed reagents/materials/analysis tools: AU TT. Wrote the paper: AU MM. Supervised the overall research project: TT MS HN.

                Article
                PONE-D-12-12929
                10.1371/journal.pone.0046970
                3467280
                23056545

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

                Page count
                Pages: 10
                Funding
                This study was supported by a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (B) 20330141 and (A) 21243040 from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) and JSPS Asian Core Program. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
                Categories
                Research Article
                Biology
                Anatomy and Physiology
                Neurological System
                Neuroanatomy
                Neuroscience
                Developmental Neuroscience
                Neurophysiology
                Medicine
                Anatomy and Physiology
                Neurological System
                Neuroanatomy
                Mental Health
                Psychology
                Developmental Psychology
                Neurology
                Developmental and Pediatric Neurology
                Neuroimaging
                Pediatrics
                Developmental and Pediatric Neurology

                Uncategorized

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