Gender differences in brain regional homogeneity of healthy subjects after normal sleep and after sleep deprivation: a resting-state fMRI study

Xi-Jian Dai, Hong-Han Gong, Yi-Xiang Wang, Fu-Qing Zhou, You-Jiang Min, Feng Zhao, Si-Yong Wang, Bi-Xia Liu, Xiang-Zuo Xiao
Sleep Medicine 2012, 13 (6): 720-7

OBJECTIVE: To explore the gender differences of brain regional homogeneity (ReHo) in healthy subjects during the resting-state, after normal sleep, and after sleep deprivation (SD) using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and the ReHo method.

METHODS: Sixteen healthy subjects (eight males and eight females) each underwent the resting-state fMRI exams twice, i.e., once after normal sleep and again after 24h's SD. According to the gender and sleep, 16 subjects were all measured twice and divided into four groups: the male control group (MC), female control group (FC), male SD group (MSD), and female SD group (FSD). The ReHo method was used to calculate and analyze the data, SPM5 software was used to perform a two-sample T-test and a two-pair T-test with a P value <0.001, and cluster volume ≥ 270 mm(3) was used to determine statistical significance.

RESULTS: Compared with the MC, the MSD showed significantly higher ReHo in the right paracentral lobule (BA3/6), but in no obviously lower regions. Compared with the FC, the FSD showed significantly higher ReHo in bilateral parietal lobes (BA2/3), bilateral vision-related regions of occipital lobes (BA17/18/19), right frontal lobe (BA4/6), and lower ReHo in the right frontal lobe. Compared with the FC, the MC showed significantly higher ReHo in the left occipital lobe (BA18/19), and left temporal lobe (BA21), left frontal lobe, and lower ReHo in the right insula and in the left parietal lobe. Compared with the FSD, the MSD showed significantly higher ReHo in the left cerebellum posterior lobe (uvula/declive of vermis), left parietal lobe, and bilateral frontal lobes, and lower ReHo in the right occipital lobe (BA17) and right frontal lobe (BA4).

CONCLUSIONS: The differences of brain activity in the resting state can be widely found not only between the control and SD group in a same gender group, but also between the male group and female group. Thus, we should take the gender differences into consideration in future fMRI studies, especially the treatment of brain-related diseases (e.g., depression).

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