Cerebral white matter in early puberty is associated with luteinizing hormone concentrations

Jiska S. Peper, Rachel M. Brouwer, Hugo G. Schnack, G. Caroline M. van Baal, Marieke van Leeuwen, Stéphanie M. van den Berg, Henriëtte A. Delemarre-Van de Waal, Andrew L. Janke, D. Louis Collins, Alan C. Evans, Dorret I. Boomsma, René S. Kahn, Hilleke E.Hulshoff Pol

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations


Puberty is a period in which cerebral white matter grows considerably, whereas gray matter decreases. The first endocrinological marker of puberty in both boys and girls is an increased secretion of luteinizing hormone (LH). Here we investigated the phenotypic association between LH, global and focal gray and white matter in 104 healthy nine-year-old monozygotic and dizygotic twins. Volumetric MRI and voxel-based morphometry were applied to measure global gray and white matter and to estimate relative concentrations of regional cerebral gray and white matter, respectively. A possible common genetic origin of this association (genetic correlation) was examined. Results showed that higher LH levels are associated with a larger global white matter proportion and with higher regional white matter density. Areas of increased white matter density included the cingulum, middle temporal gyrus and splenium of the corpus callosum. No association between LH and global gray matter proportion or regional gray matter density was found. Our data indicate that a common genetic factor underlies the association between LH level and regional white matter density. We suggest that the increase of white matter growth during puberty reported earlier might be directly or indirectly mediated by LH production. In addition, genes involved in LH production may be promising candidate genes in neuropsychiatric illnesses with an onset in early adolescence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)909-915
Number of pages7
Issue number7
StatePublished - Aug 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Brain structure
  • Luteinizing hormone
  • Puberty
  • Twins
  • Voxel-based morphometry
  • White matter


Dive into the research topics of 'Cerebral white matter in early puberty is associated with luteinizing hormone concentrations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this