Gender identity disorder (GID) refers to transsexual individuals who feel that their assigned biological gender is incongruent with their gender identity and this cannot be explained by any physical intersex condition. There is growing scientific interest in the last decades in studying the neuroanatomy and brain functions of transsexual individuals to better understand both the neuroanatomical features of transsexualism and the background of gender identity. So far, results are inconclusive but in general, transsexualism has been associated with a distinct neuroanatomical pattern. Studies mainly focused on male to female (MTF) transsexuals and there is scarcity of data acquired on female to male (FTM) transsexuals. Thus, our aim was to analyze structural MRI data with voxel based morphometry (VBM) obtained from both FTM and MTF transsexuals (n = 17) and compare them to the data of 18 age matched healthy control subjects (both males and females). We found differences in the regional grey matter (GM) structure of transsexual compared with control subjects, independent from their biological gender, in the cerebellum, the left angular gyrus and in the left inferior parietal lobule. Additionally, our findings showed that in several brain areas, regarding their GM volume, transsexual subjects did not differ significantly from controls sharing their gender identity but were different from those sharing their biological gender (areas in the left and right precentral gyri, the left postcentral gyrus, the left posterior cingulate, precuneus and calcarinus, the right cuneus, the right fusiform, lingual, middle and inferior occipital, and inferior temporal gyri). These results support the notion that structural brain differences exist between transsexual and healthy control subjects and that majority of these structural differences are dependent on the biological gender.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)