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Turner syndrome (TS) is a model for X chromosome influences on neurodevelopment because it is most commonly caused by absence of one X chromosome and associated with altered brain structure and function. However, all prior in vivo magnetic resonance imaging studies of the brain in TS have either used manual approaches or voxel-based morphometry (VBM) to measure cortical volume (CV). These methods, unlike surface-based morphometry (SBM), cannot measure the two neurobiologically distinct determinants of CV- cortical thickness (CT) and surface area (SA) - which have differing genetic determinants and may be independently altered. Therefore, in 24 adults with X monosomy and 19 healthy female controls, we used SBM to compare (i) lobar CV, CT and SA; (ii) an index of hemispheric gyrification; (iii) CT throughout the cortical sheet; and (iv) CT correlation between cortical regions. Compared to controls, females with TS had (i) significantly increased CT and decreased SA in parietal and occipital lobes (resulting in no significant difference in lobar CV); (ii) reduced hemispheric gyrification bilaterally; (iii) foci of significantly increased CT involving inferior temporal, lateral occipital, intraparietal sulcus (IPS), cingulate and orbitofrontal cortices; and (iv) significantly reduced CT correlation between the left IPS and cortical regions including supramarginal and lateral occipital gyri. Our findings suggest that females with TS have complex, sometimes "opposing", abnormalities in SA/gyrification (decreased) and CT (increased), which can result in no overall detectable differences in CV. Thus, haploinsufficiency of X chromosome genes, may differentially impact the distinct mechanisms shaping SA (e.g. cortical folding) and CT (e.g. dendritic arborization/pruning). CT disruptions are maximal within and between cortical regions previously implicated in the TS cognitive phenotype.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





2915 - 2923


Brain, Cerebral Cortex, Female, Humans, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Male, Monosomy, Turner Syndrome