The transition from childhood to adolescence is associated with an influx of sex hormones, which not only facilitates physical and behavioral changes, but also dramatic changes in neural circuitry. While previous work has shown that pubertal hormones modulate structural and functional brain development, few of these studies have focused on the impact that such hormones have on spontaneous cortical activity, and whether these effects are modulated by sex during this critical developmental window. Herein, we examined the effect of endogenous testosterone on spontaneous cortical activity in 71 typically‐developing youth (ages 10–17 years; 32 male). Participants completed a resting‐state magnetoencephalographic (MEG) recording, structural MRI, and provided a saliva sample for hormone analysis. MEG data were source‐reconstructed and the power within five canonical frequency bands (delta, theta, alpha, beta, and gamma) was computed. The resulting power spectral density maps were analyzed via vertex‐wise ANCOVAs to identify spatially specific effects of testosterone and sex by testosterone interactions, while covarying out age. We found robust sex differences in the modulatory effects of testosterone on spontaneous delta, beta, and gamma activity. These interactions were largely confined to frontal cortices and exhibited a stark switch in the directionality of the correlation from the low (delta) to high frequencies (beta/gamma). For example, in the delta band, greater testosterone related to lower relative power in prefrontal cortices in boys, while the reverse pattern was found for girls. These data suggest testosterone levels are uniquely related to the development of spontaneous cortical dynamics during adolescence, and such levels are associated with different developmental patterns in males and females within regions implicated in executive functioning.
- Award ID(s):
- NSF-PAR ID:
- Date Published:
- Journal Name:
- Cerebral Cortex
- Medium: X
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
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