Sexual dimorphism and asymmetry in human cerebellum: an MRI-based morphometric study

Brain Res. 2010 Sep 24;1353:60-73. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2010.07.031. Epub 2010 Jul 18.


Structural sexual dimorphism and asymmetry in human cerebellum have been described in previous research, but results remain inconclusive or even conflicting. In this study, gender differences and hemispheric asymmetries in global and regional human cerebellum gray matter (GM) were estimated in an age-matched sample (n=112) of young Chinese adults. An optimized voxel-based morphometry (VBM) in spatial unbiased infratentorial template (SUIT) space together with an automated atlas-based volumetric approach were performed for mapping regional gray matter (GM) gender-related differences across the entire cerebellum. The two methods provided consistent findings on gender differences. The cerebellar GM volume was significantly larger in the anterior and middle posterior lobes of male group. In addition, a trend of greater GM volume in lateral posterior lobe of female group was observed. With the created symmetric cerebellar template, the asymmetric properties of cerebellar hemisphere were also assessed by VBM analysis, showing rightward asymmetry distributed in most cerebellar lobules and leftwards asymmetry distributed in the lobules around the medial posterior lobe. Gender differences in males showed higher leftward asymmetry sparsely within a few lobules and lower rightward asymmetry mainly within lobule Crus II, as compared with females. The acquired detailed morphologic knowledge of normal human cerebellum could establish a baseline for comparison with pathologic changes in the cerebellum. Moreover, our results might help to address controversies in thestudy of sexual dimorphisms and asymmetric patterns in human cerebellum.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cerebellum / anatomy & histology*
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Male
  • Sex Characteristics*
  • Young Adult