Sex differences in amygdala subregions: evidence from subregional shape analysis

Neuroimage. 2012 May 1;60(4):2054-61. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2012.02.025. Epub 2012 Feb 20.


Each subregion of the amygdala is characterized by a distinct cytoarchitecture and function. However, most previous studies on sexual dimorphism and aging have assessed differences in the structure of the amygdala at the level of the amygdala in its entirety rather than at the subregional level. Using an amygdala subregional shape analysis, we investigated the effects of sex, age, and the sex × age interaction on the subregion after controlling for intracranial volume. We found the main effect of age in the subregions and the effect of sex in the superficial nucleus, which showed that men had a larger mean radius than women. We also found a sex × age interaction in the centromedial nucleus, in that the radius of the centromedial nucleus showed a steeper decline with age in women compared with men. Regarding the amygdala volume as a whole, we found only an age effect and did not find any other significant difference between genders. The sex difference in the amygdala subregion and its relevance to the circulating gonadal hormone were discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Amygdala / anatomy & histology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sex Characteristics*
  • Young Adult