Twin studies have been critical in determining the contributions of genetic and environmental factors to normal brain structure and for understanding abnormalities of brain development that underlie neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric disorders. In adults and older children, twin studies indicate that genes play a significant role in the variability of global brain volumes, including total brain, total gray and total white matter volumes. Other than this current study, there have been no studies of twin brain development in early childhood, the period of brain development implicated in the pathogenesis of many psychiatric disorders. In the first funding cycle of this grant, we used prenatal ultrasound and neonatal MRI to study discordance of early brain development, and to determine genetic and environmental contributions to neonatal brain structure. We have and have developed a unique and valuable cohort of twins, having recruited and scanned over 100 twin pairs. We found that discordance of prenatal brain size in MZ twins is similar to that in DZ twins, but that by 1 month after birth, discordance of overall brain volume in MZ twins is already less than in DZ twins. Statistical modeling of neonatal MRI brain volumes in our twin cohort indicates that global tissue volumes are highly heritable, similar to that observed in older children and adults, though gray matter heritability may is somewhat less. Therefore, it appears that genetic programs act very early in postnatal brain development to determine global tissue volumes. Interestingly, preliminary longitudinal mapping of correlations in gray matter density indicate correlations decrease in the first year of life, perhaps as the result of rapid brain growth in the first years of life. We also found that while global white matter volumes are highly heritable, diffusion tensor properties of specific white matter tracts are not. In the next funding cycle, we propose to continue enlarging this unique cohort and to follow them through age 6 years with structural MRI, diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), and developmental assessments to determine how genetic and environmental factors contribute to brain development in the first years of life.
Twins studies play an important role in understanding the contributions of genes and environment to brain development and risk for psychiatric disease. While there have been twin studies of brain structure adults and older children, ours is the only twin study of brain development in the first years of life. We propose to continue our study of early childhood brain development in twins, using structural MRI, diffusion tensor imaging, and cognitive assessments.
|Lyall, Amanda E; Shi, Feng; Geng, Xiujuan et al. (2015) Dynamic Development of Regional Cortical Thickness and Surface Area in Early Childhood. Cereb Cortex 25:2204-12|
|Li, Gang; Wang, Li; Shi, Feng et al. (2014) Mapping longitudinal development of local cortical gyrification in infants from birth to 2 years of age. J Neurosci 34:4228-38|
|Meng, Yu; Li, Gang; Lin, Weili et al. (2014) Spatial distribution and longitudinal development of deep cortical sulcal landmarks in infants. Neuroimage 100:206-18|
|Chen, Yasheng; Zhu, Hongtu; An, Hongyu et al. (2014) More insights into early brain development through statistical analyses of eigen-structural elements of diffusion tensor imaging using multivariate adaptive regression splines. Brain Struct Funct 219:551-69|
|Alcauter, Sarael; Lin, Weili; Smith, J Keith et al. (2014) Development of thalamocortical connectivity during infancy and its cognitive correlations. J Neurosci 34:9067-75|
|Yuan, Ying; Gilmore, John H; Geng, Xiujuan et al. (2014) FMEM: functional mixed effects modeling for the analysis of longitudinal white matter Tract data. Neuroimage 84:753-64|
|Sharma, Anuja; Fletcher, P Thomas; Gilmore, John H et al. (2014) PARAMETRIC REGRESSION SCHEME FOR DISTRIBUTIONS: ANALYSIS OF DTI FIBER TRACT DIFFUSION CHANGES IN EARLY BRAIN DEVELOPMENT. Proc IEEE Int Symp Biomed Imaging 2014:559-562|
|Shi, Feng; Wang, Li; Wu, Guorong et al. (2014) Neonatal atlas construction using sparse representation. Hum Brain Mapp 35:4663-77|
|Wang, Jiahui; Vachet, Clement; Rumple, Ashley et al. (2014) Multi-atlas segmentation of subcortical brain structures via the AutoSeg software pipeline. Front Neuroinform 8:7|
|Gao, Wei; Elton, Amanda; Zhu, Hongtu et al. (2014) Intersubject variability of and genetic effects on the brain's functional connectivity during infancy. J Neurosci 34:11288-96|
Showing the most recent 10 out of 48 publications