Adolescence is associated with genomically patterned consolidation of the hubs of the human brain connectome

NSPN Consortium, Kirstie J Whitaker, Petra E Vértes, Rafael Romero-Garcia, František Váša, Michael Moutoussis, Gita Prabhu, Nikolaus Weiskopf, Martina F Callaghan, Konrad Wagstyl, Timothy Rittman, Roger Tait, Cinly Ooi, John Suckling, Becky Inkster, Peter Fonagy, Raymond J Dolan, Peter B Jones, Ian M Goodyer, Edward T Bullmore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

289 Citations (Scopus)


How does human brain structure mature during adolescence? We used MRI to measure cortical thickness and intracortical myelination in 297 population volunteers aged 14-24 y old. We found and replicated that association cortical areas were thicker and less myelinated than primary cortical areas at 14 y. However, association cortex had faster rates of shrinkage and myelination over the course of adolescence. Age-related increases in cortical myelination were maximized approximately at the internal layer of projection neurons. Adolescent cortical myelination and shrinkage were coupled and specifically associated with a dorsoventrally patterned gene expression profile enriched for synaptic, oligodendroglial- and schizophrenia-related genes. Topologically efficient and biologically expensive hubs of the brain anatomical network had greater rates of shrinkage/myelination and were associated with overexpression of the same transcriptional profile as cortical consolidation. We conclude that normative human brain maturation involves a genetically patterned process of consolidating anatomical network hubs. We argue that developmental variation of this consolidation process may be relevant both to normal cognitive and behavioral changes and the high incidence of schizophrenia during human brain adolescence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9105-10
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number32
Publication statusPublished - 9 Aug 2016


  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cerebral Cortex/anatomy & histology
  • Cognition
  • Connectome/methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Myelin Sheath/physiology
  • Nerve Net/anatomy & histology
  • Schizophrenia/physiopathology
  • Transcriptome
  • Young Adult


Dive into the research topics of 'Adolescence is associated with genomically patterned consolidation of the hubs of the human brain connectome'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this