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: Longitudinal changes in pubertal maturation and white matter microstructure.

Authors: Herting, Megan M; Kim, Robert; Uban, Kristina A; Kan, Eric; Binley, Andrea; Sowell, Elizabeth R

Published In Psychoneuroendocrinology, (2017 Jul)

Abstract: Emerging evidence in the field of adolescent neurodevelopment suggests that pubertal processes may contribute to known trajectories of brain maturation, and may contribute, in part, to sex differences in related cognitive, behavioral and mental health outcomes. The current longitudinal study examined how changes in physical pubertal maturation (measured by the Peterson Developmental Scale) predict changes in white matter microstructure in 18 boys and 15 girls over an approximate 2-year follow-up period, while accounting for age. Using Tract-Based Spatial Statistics and multi-level modeling, the results showed that physical pubertal changes predict patterns of changes in fractional anisotropy (FA) in white matter regions in the thalamus, precentral gyrus, superior corona radiata, corpus callosum (genu), superior corona radiata, and superior frontal gyrus. Sex specific changes were also seen, as changes in gonadal and adrenal development related to increases in FA in the superior frontal gyrus and precentral gyrus in boys, but gonadal development related to decreases in FA in the anterior corona radiata in girls. These findings are the first to show how changes over time in pubertal development influence white matter development. In addition, they support a larger body of emerging research suggesting that pubertal processes contribute to distinct changes in boys and girls across brain development.

PubMed ID: 28419914 Exiting the NIEHS site

MeSH Terms: Adolescent; Anisotropy; Brain/anatomy & histology; Brain/growth & development*; Diffusion Tensor Imaging; Female; Humans; Longitudinal Studies; Male; Puberty/physiology*; Sex Characteristics; Sexual Maturation/physiology*; White Matter/anatomy & histology; White Matter/growth & development*

to Top