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Linking the major system markers for typical brain development


Ghisleni, Carmen. Linking the major system markers for typical brain development. 2015, University of Zurich, Faculty of Arts.

Abstract

The transition from childhood to adulthood is accompanied by marked changes in brain struc-ture and function. The changes seen in this time include well-documented trends in grey and white matter structures as well as in the functional networks. These developmental changes are possibly associated with the emergence of most mental health disorders in adolescence. More-over, a divergence in the prevalence of psychiatric disorders between males and females be-comes apparent during adolescence which may suggest a role of puberty and its associated (hormonal) changes. Importantly, sex differences are not only present in the prevalence of dis-orders but also in many aspects of human brain anatomy and physiology, with women for in-stance consistently showing higher cerebral perfusion than men. While much is already known about individual aspects of the human brain regarding sex differences and development, the underlying mechanisms remain largely in the dark.
Accumulating evidence exists for the diverse effects of steroid hormones on human brain physiology and anatomy. Another group of highly relevant factors acting on different cerebral systems are neurotransmitters and metabolites, in particular the main excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitters glutamate and γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA), respectively. However, investiga-tions of the associations between the various factor and their changes during development are so far scarce. Therefore, this thesis aimed to investigate the relationships between a set of se-lected major system markers of typical human brain development.
In a first study, the link between steroid hormones and cerebral perfusion was investigated, and specifically, the possible role of these hormones as underlying factors for the known sex difference in cerebral perfusion. The results revealed associations between the steroid hor-mones and cerebral perfusion and they suggest that dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS) in particular may be an important factor accounting for the higher perfusion seen in women com-pared to men.
In a second study, the link between the developmental changes in the levels of the main neurotransmitters (i.e. GABA and glutamate) and developmental changes in functional connec-tivity was investigated. The results showed an increase in subcortical and cortical GABA+/glutamate with age and second, they suggest that the developmental decrease in subcor-tical glutamate/H2O might mediate an age-related decline in local functional connectivity in the dorsal putamen.
Taken together, these findings advance the knowledge on the intricate interactions between major system markers in typical brain development and they provide further evidence for the contributions of these interactions to the various brain changes seen during the transition from childhood to adulthood. Furthermore, these interactions may consequently be highly relevant in their role as factors leading to sex differences in the brain, and they may play an important part in the emergence of many psychiatric disorders during adolescence.

The transition from childhood to adulthood is accompanied by marked changes in brain struc-ture and function. The changes seen in this time include well-documented trends in grey and white matter structures as well as in the functional networks. These developmental changes are possibly associated with the emergence of most mental health disorders in adolescence. More-over, a divergence in the prevalence of psychiatric disorders between males and females be-comes apparent during adolescence which may suggest a role of puberty and its associated (hormonal) changes. Importantly, sex differences are not only present in the prevalence of dis-orders but also in many aspects of human brain anatomy and physiology, with women for in-stance consistently showing higher cerebral perfusion than men. While much is already known about individual aspects of the human brain regarding sex differences and development, the underlying mechanisms remain largely in the dark.
Accumulating evidence exists for the diverse effects of steroid hormones on human brain physiology and anatomy. Another group of highly relevant factors acting on different cerebral systems are neurotransmitters and metabolites, in particular the main excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitters glutamate and γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA), respectively. However, investiga-tions of the associations between the various factor and their changes during development are so far scarce. Therefore, this thesis aimed to investigate the relationships between a set of se-lected major system markers of typical human brain development.
In a first study, the link between steroid hormones and cerebral perfusion was investigated, and specifically, the possible role of these hormones as underlying factors for the known sex difference in cerebral perfusion. The results revealed associations between the steroid hor-mones and cerebral perfusion and they suggest that dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS) in particular may be an important factor accounting for the higher perfusion seen in women com-pared to men.
In a second study, the link between the developmental changes in the levels of the main neurotransmitters (i.e. GABA and glutamate) and developmental changes in functional connec-tivity was investigated. The results showed an increase in subcortical and cortical GABA+/glutamate with age and second, they suggest that the developmental decrease in subcor-tical glutamate/H2O might mediate an age-related decline in local functional connectivity in the dorsal putamen.
Taken together, these findings advance the knowledge on the intricate interactions between major system markers in typical brain development and they provide further evidence for the contributions of these interactions to the various brain changes seen during the transition from childhood to adulthood. Furthermore, these interactions may consequently be highly relevant in their role as factors leading to sex differences in the brain, and they may play an important part in the emergence of many psychiatric disorders during adolescence.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Dissertation
Referees:Jäncke Lutz, Martin Ernst, Klaver Peter
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Children's Hospital Zurich > Medical Clinic
06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Uncontrolled Keywords:DoktoratPsych Erstautor
Language:English
Date:January 2015
Deposited On:16 Sep 2015 12:44
Last Modified:29 Jun 2016 14:47
Free access at:Related URL. An embargo period may apply.
Related URLs:http://www.recherche-portal.ch/ZAD:default_scope:ebi01_prod010550926 (Library Catalogue)
Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-108831

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