Sexual dimorphism of Broca's region: More gray matter in female brains in Brodmann areas 44 and 45

Bibliographic Collection: 
Publication Type: Journal Article
Authors: Kurth, Florian; Jancke, Lutz; Luders, Eileen
Year of Publication: 2017
Journal: Journal of Neuroscience Research
Volume: 95
Issue: 1-2
Pagination: 626 - 632
Date Published: 2017
Publication Language: eng
ISBN Number: 1097-4547
Keywords: Brain, Broca, gender, gray matter, MRI, Sex

Although a sexual dimorphism in brain structure is generally well established, evidence for sex differences in Brodmann areas (BA) 44 and 45 is inconclusive. This may be due to the difficulty of accurately defining BA 44 and BA 45 in magnetic resonance images, given that these regions are variable in their location and extent and that they do not match well with macroanatomic landmarks. Here we set out to test for possible sex differences in the local gray matter of BA 44/45 by integrating imaging-based signal intensities with cytoarchitectonically defined tissue probabilities in a sample of 50 male and 50 female subjects. In addition to testing for sex differences with respect to left- and right-hemispheric measures of BA 44/45, we also assessed possible sex differences in BA 44/45 asymmetry. Our analyses revealed significantly larger gray matter volumes in females compared with males for BA 44 and BA 45 bilaterally. However, there was a lack of significant sex differences in BA 44/45 asymmetry. These results corroborate reports of a language-related female superiority, particularly with respect to verbal fluency and verbal memory tasks.

Short Title: Journal of Neuroscience Research
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