Sex differences in resting-state functional networks in awake rats

Qiong Li, Nanyin Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Sex-related differences can be found in many brain disorders and psychophysiological traits, highlighting the importance to systematically understand the sex differences in brain function in humans and animal models. Despite emerging effort to address sex differences in behaviors and disease models in rodents, how brain-wide functional connectivity (FC) patterns differ between male and female rats remains largely unknown. Here, we used resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rsfMRI) to investigate regional and systems-level differences between female and male rats. Our data show that female rats display stronger hypothalamus connectivity, whereas male rats exhibit more prominent striatum-related connectivity. At the global scale, female rats demonstrate stronger segregation within the cortical and subcortical systems, while male rats display more prominent cortico-subcortical interactions, particularly between the cortex and striatum. Taken together, these data provide a comprehensive framework of sex differences in resting-state connectivity patterns in the awake rat brain, and offer a reference for studies aiming to reveal sex-related FC differences in different animal models of brain disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1411-1423
Number of pages13
JournalBrain Structure and Function
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jul 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Anatomy
  • General Neuroscience
  • Histology

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