Differences in brain volumes among males and female hormone-therapy users and nonusers

Psychiatry Res. 2006 Oct 30;147(2-3):127-34. doi: 10.1016/j.pscychresns.2006.01.001. Epub 2006 Aug 28.


Numerous studies have shown gender differences in the brain volumes of elderly adults. Some evidence shows that higher estrogen levels may be neuroprotective, suggesting that hormone therapy (HT) may in part be responsible for these gender differences; however, few studies have examined the relation between HT and brain volumes. Brain volumes of caudate, putamen, hippocampus, gray matter, white matter, white-matter lesions, and cerebrospinal fluid were measured on magnetic resonance imaging scans. A comprehensive neuropsychological battery was administered. Women were separated into two groups based on HT use, and we used multiple regression analyses to compare these groups with one another and with men. Results of brain-volume measurements showed that HT users had significantly less gray matter and more cerebrospinal fluid than nonusers. Results of the neuropsychological testing showed that HT users performed better on the Shipley Vocabulary Test than males did.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Brain / anatomy & histology*
  • Brain / drug effects*
  • Cognition / physiology
  • Estradiol / administration & dosage
  • Estradiol / pharmacology
  • Estrogen Replacement Therapy / methods*
  • Estrogens, Conjugated (USP) / administration & dosage
  • Estrogens, Conjugated (USP) / pharmacology
  • Estrone / administration & dosage
  • Estrone / analogs & derivatives
  • Estrone / pharmacology
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Medroxyprogesterone Acetate / administration & dosage
  • Medroxyprogesterone Acetate / pharmacology
  • Neuropsychological Tests


  • Estrogens, Conjugated (USP)
  • Estrone
  • Estradiol
  • Medroxyprogesterone Acetate
  • estropipate