Skip Navigation
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

The .gov means it’s official.
Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you’re on a federal government site.


The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

Your Environment. Your Health.

Publication Detail

Title: Puberty and structural brain development in humans.

Authors: Herting, Megan M; Sowell, Elizabeth R

Published In Front Neuroendocrinol, (2017 01)

Abstract: Adolescence is a transitional period of physical and behavioral development between childhood and adulthood. Puberty is a distinct period of sexual maturation that occurs during adolescence. Since the advent of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), human studies have largely examined neurodevelopment in the context of age. A breadth of animal findings suggest that sex hormones continue to influence the brain beyond the prenatal period, with both organizational and activational effects occurring during puberty. Given the animal evidence, human MRI research has also set out to determine how puberty may influence otherwise known patterns of age-related neurodevelopment. Here we review structural-based MRI studies and show that pubertal maturation is a key variable to consider in elucidating sex- and individual- based differences in patterns of human brain development. We also highlight the continuing challenges faced, as well as future considerations, for this vital avenue of research.

PubMed ID: 28007528 Exiting the NIEHS site

MeSH Terms: Adolescent; Animals; Brain/anatomy & histology; Brain/growth & development*; Female; Gonadal Steroid Hormones/physiology; Humans; Magnetic Resonance Imaging; Male; Puberty/physiology*; Sexual Maturation

to Top