A cross-species neuroimaging study of sex chromosome dosage effects on human and mouse brain anatomy.
Guma E., Beauchamp A., Liu S., Levitis E., Clasen LS., Torres E., Blumenthal J., Lalonde F., Qiu LR., Hrncir H., MacKenzie-Graham A., Yang X., Arnold AP., Lerch JP., Raznahan A.
All eutherian mammals show chromosomal sex determination with contrasting sex chromosome dosages (SCDs) between males (XY) and females (XX). Studies in transgenic mice and humans with sex chromosome trisomy (SCT) have revealed direct SCD effects on regional mammalian brain anatomy, but we lack a formal test for cross-species conservation of these effects. Here, we develop a harmonized framework for comparative structural neuroimaging and apply this to systematically profile SCD effects on regional brain anatomy in both humans and mice by contrasting groups with SCT (XXY and XYY) vs. XY controls. Total brain size was substantially altered by SCT in humans (significantly decreased by XXY and increased by XYY), but not in mice. Robust and spatially convergent effects of XXY and XYY on regional brain volume were observed in humans, but not mice, when controlling for global volume differences. However, mice do show subtle effects of XXY and XYY on regional volume, although there is not a general spatial convergence in these effects within mice or between species. Notwithstanding this general lack of conservation in SCT effects, we detect several brain regions that show overlapping effects of XXY and XYY both within and between species (cerebellum, parietal, and orbitofrontal cortex) - thereby nominating high priority targets for future translational dissection of SCD effects on the mammalian brain. Our study introduces a generalizable framework for comparative neuroimaging in humans and mice and applies this to achieve a cross-species comparison of SCD effects on the mammalian brain through the lens of SCT.Significance statementSex chromosome dosage affects neuroanatomy and risk for psychopathology in humans. Performing mechanistic studies in the human brain is challenging but possible in mouse models. Here, we develop a framework for cross-species neuroimaging analysis and use this to show that an added X- or Y-chromosome significantly alters human brain anatomy but has muted effects in the mouse brain. However, we do find evidence for conserved cross-species impact of an added chromosome in the fronto-parietal cortices and cerebellum, which point to regions for future mechanistic dissection of sex chromosome dosage effects on brain development.