Sex differences in resting-state functional connectivity in multiple sclerosis.

Research paper by K A KA Koenig, M J MJ Lowe, J J Lin, K E KE Sakaie, L L Stone, R A RA Bermel, E B EB Beall, S M SM Rao, B D BD Trapp, M D MD Phillips

Indexed on: 03 Jul '13Published on: 03 Jul '13Published in: AJNR. American journal of neuroradiology


Multiple studies have demonstrated evidence of sex differences in patients with MS, including differences in disease progression, cognitive decline, and biologic markers. This study used functional connectivity MRI to investigate sex differences in the strength of functional connectivity of the default mode network in patients with MS and healthy control subjects.A total of 16 men and 16 women with MS and 32 age- and sex-matched healthy control subjects underwent a whole-brain resting-state functional connectivity MRI scan. A group-based seed in the posterior cingulate was used to create whole-brain correlation maps. A 2 × 2 ANOVA was used to assess whether disease status and sex affected the strength of connectivity to the posterior cingulate.Patients with MS showed significantly stronger connectivity from the posterior cingulate to the bilateral medial frontal gyri, the left ventral anterior cingulate, the right putamen, and the left middle temporal gyrus (P < .0005). In the left dorsal lateral prefrontal cortex, female patients showed significantly stronger connectivity to the posterior cingulate cortex compared with female control subjects (P = 3 × 10(4)), and male control subjects showed stronger posterior cingulate cortex-left dorsal lateral prefrontal cortex connectivity in comparison to female control subjects (P = .002). Male patients showed significantly weaker connectivity to the caudate compared with female patients (P = .004).Disease status and sex interact to produce differences in the strength of functional connectivity from the posterior cingulate to the caudate and the left dorsal lateral prefrontal cortex.