Brain functional connectivity patterns in children and adolescents with gender dysphoria: Sex-atypical or not?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Various previous studies have reported that brains of people diagnosed with gender dysphoria (GD) show sex-atypical features. In addition, recent functional magnetic resonance imaging studies found that several brain resting-state networks (RSNs) in adults with GD show functional connectivity (FC) patterns that are not sex-atypical, but specific for GD. In the current study we examined whether FC patterns are also altered in prepubertal children and adolescents with GD in comparison with non-gender dysphoric peers. We investigated FC patterns within RSNs that were previously examined in adults: visual networks (VNs), sensorimotor networks (SMNs), default mode network (DMN) and salience network. Thirty-one children (18 birth assigned males; 13 birth assigned females) and 40 adolescents with GD (19 birth assigned males or transgirls; 21 birth assigned females or transboys), and 39 cisgender children (21 boys; 18 girls) and 41 cisgender adolescents (20 boys; 21 girls) participated. We used independent component analysis to obtain the network maps of interest and compared these across groups. Within one of the three VNs (VN-I), adolescent transgirls showed stronger FC in the right cerebellum compared with all other adolescent groups. Sex differences in FC between the cisgender adolescent groups were observed in the right supplementary motor area within one of the two SMNs (SMN-II; girls > boys) and the right posterior cingulate gyrus within the posterior DMN (boys > girls). Within these networks adolescent transgirls showed FC patterns similar to their experienced gender (female). Also adolescent transboys showed a FC pattern similar to their experienced gender (male), but within the SMN-II only. The prepubertal children did not show any group differences in FC, suggesting that these emerge with aging and during puberty. Our findings provide evidence for the existence of both GD-specific and sex-atypical FC patterns in adolescents with GD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-195
Number of pages9
JournalPsychoneuroendocrinology
Volume86
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017

Cite this

@article{f6c2ca8a9f7f48ebb8d32ccecb8c4d12,
title = "Brain functional connectivity patterns in children and adolescents with gender dysphoria: Sex-atypical or not?",
abstract = "Various previous studies have reported that brains of people diagnosed with gender dysphoria (GD) show sex-atypical features. In addition, recent functional magnetic resonance imaging studies found that several brain resting-state networks (RSNs) in adults with GD show functional connectivity (FC) patterns that are not sex-atypical, but specific for GD. In the current study we examined whether FC patterns are also altered in prepubertal children and adolescents with GD in comparison with non-gender dysphoric peers. We investigated FC patterns within RSNs that were previously examined in adults: visual networks (VNs), sensorimotor networks (SMNs), default mode network (DMN) and salience network. Thirty-one children (18 birth assigned males; 13 birth assigned females) and 40 adolescents with GD (19 birth assigned males or transgirls; 21 birth assigned females or transboys), and 39 cisgender children (21 boys; 18 girls) and 41 cisgender adolescents (20 boys; 21 girls) participated. We used independent component analysis to obtain the network maps of interest and compared these across groups. Within one of the three VNs (VN-I), adolescent transgirls showed stronger FC in the right cerebellum compared with all other adolescent groups. Sex differences in FC between the cisgender adolescent groups were observed in the right supplementary motor area within one of the two SMNs (SMN-II; girls > boys) and the right posterior cingulate gyrus within the posterior DMN (boys > girls). Within these networks adolescent transgirls showed FC patterns similar to their experienced gender (female). Also adolescent transboys showed a FC pattern similar to their experienced gender (male), but within the SMN-II only. The prepubertal children did not show any group differences in FC, suggesting that these emerge with aging and during puberty. Our findings provide evidence for the existence of both GD-specific and sex-atypical FC patterns in adolescents with GD.",
keywords = "Adolescents, Functional connectivity, Gender dysphoria, Prepubertal children, Resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging, Transgender",
author = "Nota, {Nienke M.} and Kreukels, {Baudewijntje P.C.} and {den Heijer}, Martin and Veltman, {Dick J.} and Cohen-Kettenis, {Peggy T.} and Burke, {Sarah M.} and Julie Bakker",
year = "2017",
month = "12",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1016/j.psyneuen.2017.09.014",
language = "English",
volume = "86",
pages = "187--195",
journal = "Psychoneuroendocrinology",
issn = "0306-4530",
publisher = "Elsevier Limited",

}

Brain functional connectivity patterns in children and adolescents with gender dysphoria : Sex-atypical or not? / Nota, Nienke M.; Kreukels, Baudewijntje P.C.; den Heijer, Martin; Veltman, Dick J.; Cohen-Kettenis, Peggy T.; Burke, Sarah M.; Bakker, Julie.

In: Psychoneuroendocrinology, Vol. 86, 01.12.2017, p. 187-195.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Brain functional connectivity patterns in children and adolescents with gender dysphoria

T2 - Sex-atypical or not?

AU - Nota, Nienke M.

AU - Kreukels, Baudewijntje P.C.

AU - den Heijer, Martin

AU - Veltman, Dick J.

AU - Cohen-Kettenis, Peggy T.

AU - Burke, Sarah M.

AU - Bakker, Julie

PY - 2017/12/1

Y1 - 2017/12/1

N2 - Various previous studies have reported that brains of people diagnosed with gender dysphoria (GD) show sex-atypical features. In addition, recent functional magnetic resonance imaging studies found that several brain resting-state networks (RSNs) in adults with GD show functional connectivity (FC) patterns that are not sex-atypical, but specific for GD. In the current study we examined whether FC patterns are also altered in prepubertal children and adolescents with GD in comparison with non-gender dysphoric peers. We investigated FC patterns within RSNs that were previously examined in adults: visual networks (VNs), sensorimotor networks (SMNs), default mode network (DMN) and salience network. Thirty-one children (18 birth assigned males; 13 birth assigned females) and 40 adolescents with GD (19 birth assigned males or transgirls; 21 birth assigned females or transboys), and 39 cisgender children (21 boys; 18 girls) and 41 cisgender adolescents (20 boys; 21 girls) participated. We used independent component analysis to obtain the network maps of interest and compared these across groups. Within one of the three VNs (VN-I), adolescent transgirls showed stronger FC in the right cerebellum compared with all other adolescent groups. Sex differences in FC between the cisgender adolescent groups were observed in the right supplementary motor area within one of the two SMNs (SMN-II; girls > boys) and the right posterior cingulate gyrus within the posterior DMN (boys > girls). Within these networks adolescent transgirls showed FC patterns similar to their experienced gender (female). Also adolescent transboys showed a FC pattern similar to their experienced gender (male), but within the SMN-II only. The prepubertal children did not show any group differences in FC, suggesting that these emerge with aging and during puberty. Our findings provide evidence for the existence of both GD-specific and sex-atypical FC patterns in adolescents with GD.

AB - Various previous studies have reported that brains of people diagnosed with gender dysphoria (GD) show sex-atypical features. In addition, recent functional magnetic resonance imaging studies found that several brain resting-state networks (RSNs) in adults with GD show functional connectivity (FC) patterns that are not sex-atypical, but specific for GD. In the current study we examined whether FC patterns are also altered in prepubertal children and adolescents with GD in comparison with non-gender dysphoric peers. We investigated FC patterns within RSNs that were previously examined in adults: visual networks (VNs), sensorimotor networks (SMNs), default mode network (DMN) and salience network. Thirty-one children (18 birth assigned males; 13 birth assigned females) and 40 adolescents with GD (19 birth assigned males or transgirls; 21 birth assigned females or transboys), and 39 cisgender children (21 boys; 18 girls) and 41 cisgender adolescents (20 boys; 21 girls) participated. We used independent component analysis to obtain the network maps of interest and compared these across groups. Within one of the three VNs (VN-I), adolescent transgirls showed stronger FC in the right cerebellum compared with all other adolescent groups. Sex differences in FC between the cisgender adolescent groups were observed in the right supplementary motor area within one of the two SMNs (SMN-II; girls > boys) and the right posterior cingulate gyrus within the posterior DMN (boys > girls). Within these networks adolescent transgirls showed FC patterns similar to their experienced gender (female). Also adolescent transboys showed a FC pattern similar to their experienced gender (male), but within the SMN-II only. The prepubertal children did not show any group differences in FC, suggesting that these emerge with aging and during puberty. Our findings provide evidence for the existence of both GD-specific and sex-atypical FC patterns in adolescents with GD.

KW - Adolescents

KW - Functional connectivity

KW - Gender dysphoria

KW - Prepubertal children

KW - Resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging

KW - Transgender

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U2 - 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2017.09.014

DO - 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2017.09.014

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