Gender difference on myelin content in healthy young adult brain: a quantitative magnetic resonance imaging study at 1.5 Tesla

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Kingkarn Aphiwatthanasumet
Arunee Hematulin


Background: Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) of cerebral white matter integrity in healthy young adult is not well studied due to anisotropy variation in brain regions with complex fiber architecture. Investigation how such variation of gender differences may offer a discernible clinical benefit.

Objectives: To evaluate gender difference on white matter tissue properties in healthy young adult brain using T1 weighted and high-resolution DTI at 1.5 Tesla MRI.

Materials and methods: Twenty healthy volunteers (10 men, 10 women, age 20-24 years) underwent DTI for quantification of apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) and fractional anisotropy (FA) values. A T1 weighted sequence was chosen to provide anatomical reference while diffusion-weighted sequence was chosen to provide DTI. Visualization of white matter fiber tracts were obtained with FiberTrak software of the manufacturer. Selected tracts were constructed along corpus callosum, cingulum-cingulate gyrus, and corticospinal tract. To determine water diffusion in certain regions, ADC and FA values were measured. Finally, the two-sample t-test was performed to evaluate the difference between genders and p-values below 0.05 were considered statistically significant.

Results: The ADC values of men ranged from 0.675 to 0.926 mm2s-1 while these values ranged from 0.671 to 0.918 mm2s-1 for women. In thalamus, a significant ADC difference was found (t=2.781, p<0.05) and otherwise no significant ADC differences were seen. For men, the FA values ranged from 0.175 to 0.832 while these values ranged from 0.163 to 0.845 for women. The highest FA value was found in corpus callosum. Two-sample t-test showed no significant FA differences between genders (p>0.05).

Conclusion: There was no significant FA difference between men and women's brains while the mean ADC values in thalamus was statistically significant different. However, there is still no clear correlation of ADC and FA values regarding the gender differences on white matter integrity.


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Aphiwatthanasumet, K., & Hematulin, A. (2020). Gender difference on myelin content in healthy young adult brain: a quantitative magnetic resonance imaging study at 1.5 Tesla. Journal of Associated Medical Sciences, 53(3), 15–23. Retrieved from
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