Sex Differences in Functional Topography of Association Networks
Dani S. Bassett,
Maxwell A. Bertolero,
Damien A. Fair,
Raquel E Gur,
Ruben C Gur,
Adam R Pines,
David R Roalf,
Russell T Shinohara,
Daniel H Wolf,
Theodore D Satterthwaite
Posted 26 May 2021
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2021.05.25.445671
Posted 26 May 2021
Prior work has shown that there is substantial interindividual variation in the spatial distribution of functional networks across the cerebral cortex, or functional topography. However, it remains unknown whether there are sex differences in the topography of individualized networks in youth. Here we leveraged an advanced machine learning method (sparsity-regularized non-negative matrix factorization) to define individualized functional networks in 693 youth (ages 8-23 years) who underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging as part of the Philadelphia Neurodevelopmental Cohort. Multivariate pattern analysis using support vector machines classified participant sex based on functional topography with 83% accuracy (p<0.0001). Brain regions most effective in classifying participant sex belonged to association networks, including the ventral attention and default mode networks. Mass-univariate analyses using generalized additive models with penalized splines provided convergent results. Comparative analysis using transcriptomic data from the Allen Human Brain Atlas revealed that sex differences in multivariate patterns of functional topography correlated with the expression of genes on the X-chromosome. These results identify normative developmental sex differences in the functional topography of association networks and highlight the role of sex as a biological variable in shaping brain development in youth.
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