Prefrontal cortex gyrification index in twins: an MRI study

Alkomiet Hasan, Andrew M McIntosh, Uta-Aglaia Droese, Thomas Schneider-Axmann, Stephen M Lawrie, Thomas William Moorhead, Ralf Tepest, Wolfgang Maier, Peter Falkai, Thomas Wobrock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cortical development and folding seems to be under environmental as well as genetic control. The aim of our study was to estimate the genetic influence on gyrification and cortical volumes, comparing prefrontal gyrification index (GI) in monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twin pairs, and unrelated pairs. Twenty-four subjects (6 pairs of MZ and 6 pairs of DZ twins) were included in this study. Prefrontal cortical folding (gyrification) was measured by an automated and manual version of the gyrification index (A-GI, M-GI) according to previously published protocols. MR-imaging was performed and 3 representative slices were selected from coronar MR-imaging scans. The volumes of the total brain, temporal lobes, prefrontal lobes, and cerebellum were analyzed, too. To evaluate similarity in GI, absolute differences in GI, and brain volumes as well as intraclass correlations of twin pairs were compared with regard to twin status. Finally, a control group of unrelated pairs was assembled from the first two study groups and analyzed. Compared to unrelated pairs, twin pairs exhibited more similarity concerning different brain volumes and a trend to more similarity concerning A-GI. MZ twins did not present more similarity concerning GI (automatically and manually measured) and volume measurements compared to DZ twins. Different factors, like intrauterine factors, postnatal development conditions, and especially environmental factors might account for the differences between related and unrelated pairs. The nonexistence of a pronounced similarity in MZ twins compared to DZ twins concerning prefrontal GI raises questions about the extent of genetic influence on GI.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)459-65
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean archives of psychiatry and clinical neuroscience
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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