Cerebral serotonin transporter asymmetry in females, males and male-to-female transsexuals measured by PET in vivo

Georg Kranz, A. Hahn, P. Baldinger, D. Haeusler, C. Philippe, U. Kaufmann, W. Wadsak, M. Savli, A. Hoeflich, C. Kraus, T. Vanicek, M. Mitterhauser, S. Kasper, R. Lanzenberger

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The serotonergic system modulates brain functions that are considered to underlie affective states, emotion and cognition. Several lines of evidence point towards a strong lateralization of these mental processes, which indicates similar asymmetries in associated neurotransmitter systems. Here, our aim was to investigate a potential asymmetry of the serotonin transporter distribution using positron emission tomography and the radioligand [11C]DASB in vivo. As brain asymmetries may differ between sexes, we further aimed to compare serotonin transporter asymmetry between females, males and male-to-female (MtF) transsexuals whose brains are considered to be partly feminized. Voxel-wise analysis of serotonin transporter binding in all groups showed both strong left and rightward asymmetries in several cortical and subcortical structures including temporal and frontal cortices, anterior cingulate, hippocampus, caudate and thalamus. Further, male controls showed a rightward asymmetry in the midcingulate cortex, which was absent in females and MtF transsexuals. The present data support the notion of a lateralized serotonergic system, which is in line with previous findings of asymmetric serotonin-1A receptor distributions, extracellular serotonin concentrations, serotonin turnover and uptake. The absence of serotonin transporter asymmetry in the midcingulate in MtF transsexuals may be attributed to an absence of brain masculinization in this region. © 2012 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-183
Number of pages13
JournalBrain Structure and Function
Volume219
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Cerebral asymmetry
  • Gender dysphoria
  • Lateralization
  • Serotonin transporter
  • Transsexual

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Histology

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