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Brain network interactions in transgender individuals with gender incongruence

(2020) NEUROIMAGE. 211.
Author
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Abstract
Functional brain organization in transgender persons remains unclear. Our aims were to investigate global and regional connectivity differences within functional networks in transwomen and transmen with early-in-life onset gender incongruence; and to test the consistency of two available hypotheses that attempted to explain gender variants: (i) a neurodevelopmental cortical hypothesis that suggests the existence of different brain phenotypes based on structural MRI data and genes polymorphisms of sex hormone receptors; (ii) a functional-based hypothesis in relation to regions involved in the own body perception. T2*-weighted images in a 3-T MRI were obtained from 29 transmen and 17 transwomen as well as 22 cisgender women and 19 cisgender men. Restingstate independent component analysis, seed-to-seed functional network and graph theory analyses were performed. Transmen, transwomen, and cisgender women had decreased connectivity compared with cisgender men in superior parietal regions, as part of the salience (SN) and the executive control (ECN) networks. Transmen also had weaker connectivity compared with cisgender men between intra-SN regions and weaker inter-network connectivity between regions of the SN, the default mode network (DMN), the ECN and the sensorimotor network. Transwomen had lower small-worldness, modularity and clustering coefficient than cisgender men. There were no differences among transmen, transwomen, and ciswomen. Together these results underline the importance of the SN interacting with DMN, ECN, and sensorimotor networks in transmen, involving regions of the entire brain with a frontal predominance. Reduced global connectivity graph-theoretical measures were a characteristic of transwomen. It is proposed that the interaction between networks is a keystone in building a gendered self. Finally, our findings suggest that both proposed hypotheses are complementary in explaining brain differences between gender variants.
Keywords
SEX HORMONAL TREATMENT., CORTICAL THICKNESS, WHITE-MATTER, CONNECTIVITY, IDENTITY, DIFFERENTIATION, MICROSTRUCTURE, TRANSSEXUALS, INFERENCE, ANDROGEN, Connectivity, fMRI, Gender incongruence, Graph theory, Transmen, Transwomen

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Citation

Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:

MLA
Uribe, Carme, et al. “Brain Network Interactions in Transgender Individuals with Gender Incongruence.” NEUROIMAGE, vol. 211, Academic Press Inc Elsevier Science, 2020, doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2020.116613.
APA
Uribe, C., Junque, C., Gomez-Gil, E., Abos, A., Müller, S., & Guillamon, A. (2020). Brain network interactions in transgender individuals with gender incongruence. NEUROIMAGE, 211. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2020.116613
Chicago author-date
Uribe, Carme, Carme Junque, Esther Gomez-Gil, Alexandra Abos, Sven Müller, and Antonio Guillamon. 2020. “Brain Network Interactions in Transgender Individuals with Gender Incongruence.” NEUROIMAGE 211. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2020.116613.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Uribe, Carme, Carme Junque, Esther Gomez-Gil, Alexandra Abos, Sven Müller, and Antonio Guillamon. 2020. “Brain Network Interactions in Transgender Individuals with Gender Incongruence.” NEUROIMAGE 211. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2020.116613.
Vancouver
1.
Uribe C, Junque C, Gomez-Gil E, Abos A, Müller S, Guillamon A. Brain network interactions in transgender individuals with gender incongruence. NEUROIMAGE. 2020;211.
IEEE
[1]
C. Uribe, C. Junque, E. Gomez-Gil, A. Abos, S. Müller, and A. Guillamon, “Brain network interactions in transgender individuals with gender incongruence,” NEUROIMAGE, vol. 211, 2020.
@article{8668889,
  abstract     = {Functional brain organization in transgender persons remains unclear. Our aims were to investigate global and regional connectivity differences within functional networks in transwomen and transmen with early-in-life onset gender incongruence; and to test the consistency of two available hypotheses that attempted to explain gender variants: (i) a neurodevelopmental cortical hypothesis that suggests the existence of different brain phenotypes based on structural MRI data and genes polymorphisms of sex hormone receptors; (ii) a functional-based hypothesis in relation to regions involved in the own body perception. T2*-weighted images in a 3-T MRI were obtained from 29 transmen and 17 transwomen as well as 22 cisgender women and 19 cisgender men. Restingstate independent component analysis, seed-to-seed functional network and graph theory analyses were performed. Transmen, transwomen, and cisgender women had decreased connectivity compared with cisgender men in superior parietal regions, as part of the salience (SN) and the executive control (ECN) networks. Transmen also had weaker connectivity compared with cisgender men between intra-SN regions and weaker inter-network connectivity between regions of the SN, the default mode network (DMN), the ECN and the sensorimotor network. Transwomen had lower small-worldness, modularity and clustering coefficient than cisgender men. There were no differences among transmen, transwomen, and ciswomen. Together these results underline the importance of the SN interacting with DMN, ECN, and sensorimotor networks in transmen, involving regions of the entire brain with a frontal predominance. Reduced global connectivity graph-theoretical measures were a characteristic of transwomen. It is proposed that the interaction between networks is a keystone in building a gendered self. Finally, our findings suggest that both proposed hypotheses are complementary in explaining brain differences between gender variants.},
  articleno    = {116613},
  author       = {Uribe, Carme and Junque, Carme and Gomez-Gil, Esther and Abos, Alexandra and Müller, Sven and Guillamon, Antonio},
  issn         = {1053-8119},
  journal      = {NEUROIMAGE},
  keywords     = {SEX HORMONAL TREATMENT.,CORTICAL THICKNESS,WHITE-MATTER,CONNECTIVITY,IDENTITY,DIFFERENTIATION,MICROSTRUCTURE,TRANSSEXUALS,INFERENCE,ANDROGEN,Connectivity,fMRI,Gender incongruence,Graph theory,Transmen,Transwomen},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {12},
  publisher    = {Academic Press Inc Elsevier Science},
  title        = {Brain network interactions in transgender individuals with gender incongruence},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2020.116613},
  volume       = {211},
  year         = {2020},
}

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