Altered subcortical and cortical brain morphology in adult women with 47,XXX: a 7-Tesla magnetic resonance imaging study

Chaira Serrarens*, Maarten Otter, B. C. M. Campforts, Constance Stumpel, H. Jansma, Thérèse van Amelsvoort, Claudia Vingerhoets

*Corresponding author for this work

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3 Citations (Web of Science)


Background Triple X syndrome (47,XXX) is a relatively common sex chromosomal aneuploidy characterized by the presence of a supernumerary X chromosome in females and has been associated with a variable cognitive, behavioural and psychiatric phenotype. 47,XXX may serve as a suitable model for studying the effect of genetic architecture on brain morphology. Previous studies have shown alterations in brain structure in 47,XXX particularly in childhood and adolescence. In this study, we examined subcortical and cortical brain morphology in adult women with 47,XXX using ultra-high field 7T MRI. Given previous evidence of impaired social functioning and emotion recognition in adults with 47,XXX, we also investigated the relationship of these functions with brain morphology. Methods Twenty-one adult women with 47,XXX and 22 age- and sex-matched healthy controls were included. Structural T1-weighted images were acquired using a 7-Tesla magnetic resonance scanner. Measures of subcortical brain volumes, cortical surface area and thickness, and cortical folding were obtained and compared between the groups using general linear models. Additionally, we examined potential relationships between brain outcome measures and social functioning and social cognition in 47,XXX using correlation analyses. Results Adults with 47,XXX showed lower volumes of the thalamus, caudate, putamen, hippocampus, nucleus accumbens and pallidum, and larger lateral ventricle volumes. Lower surface area was found in the superior frontal gyrus and superior temporal gyrus in 47,XXX participants compared to healthy controls. Altered cortical thickness and cortical folding were not present in 47,XXX. Cortical thickness was associated with social cognition in 47,XXX. Conclusions Results suggest that a supernumerary X chromosome in females affects subcortical and lateral ventricle volumes, and cortical surface area in adulthood. 47,XXX may serve as a suitable model for studying genetic influences on structural brain morphology across developmental stages in order to understand neurobiological mechanisms underlying cognitive and behavioural impairments.

Original languageEnglish
Article number14
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 23 Feb 2022


  • 47
  • 7T
  • Adults
  • Cortical folding
  • Cortical surface area
  • Cortical thickness
  • MRI
  • RISK
  • SEX
  • SIZE
  • Social cognition
  • Social functioning
  • Subcortical volume
  • XXX

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