I'm not sure whether this question makes sense, but someone said that they result in gender differentiation on an organisational level in the brain. I'm wondering how important these changes are, in terms of magnitude of average differences in neural structure between males and females?

  • $\begingroup$ Can you specify whether you refer to humans? Because in different species (e.g. lizards vs mosquitoes) the importance of the gonads on behaviour changes quite dramatically. $\endgroup$
    – have fun
    Aug 26, 2017 at 11:03
  • $\begingroup$ @havefun I was referring to humans, but would you be able to explain the other factors involved for lizards - and how the gonadal hormones play a role? $\endgroup$ Aug 30, 2017 at 14:24

1 Answer 1



During embryonic life,there is formation of new synapses by a process termed as exuberant synaptogenesis. Their differential formation in the males and females could be due to the effect produced by the gene PCDH11X/Y located in the allosomes.

PCDH11Y is a gene unique to human males that encodes Protocadherin 11Y, aprotein that guides the development of nerve cells. PCDH11X, located on the X chromosome, is common, in both sexes, to humans and our nearest relative, thechimpanzee; however, PCDH11Y, located on the Y chromosome, is unique to males.[3] ...PCDH11X/Y are cadherin family genes. They make proteins, involved in signalling, that attach to the surface of nerve cells.[4] PCDH11X and PCDH11Y, respond in different ways to Retinoic acid, a chemical involved in the development of embryos. The acid stimulates the activity of PCDH11Y but suppresses PCDH11X. This is likely one of the explanations for the differences between the brains of men and women.[3] [source]

About the parts of the brain which are deemed"sexually dimorphised" a few of them are:

1.hemispherical differences due to which inter hemispherical functioning is better is females whereas intra hemispherical functioning in males

2.hippocampal and amygdaloid laterisation

on average males had larger grey matter volume in bilateral amygdalae,hippocampi, anterior parahippocampal gyri, posterior cingulate gyri, precuneus,putamen and temporal poles, areas in the left posterior and anterior cingulate gyri ...females on average had larger grey matter volume at the rightfrontal pole, inferior and middle frontal gyri, pars triangularis, planum temporale/parietal operculum, anterior cingulate gyrus, insular cortex, and Heschl's gyrus; bilateral thalami andprecuneus; the left parahippocampal gyrus and lateral occipital cortex Source:Neuroscience of sex differences

Furthur,since synaptogenesis may occur throughout one's lifespan perhaps not as greatly as during embryonic life and as receptors for gonadal hormones are present in the brain it can be said that the gonads may affect the phenomenon,though mainly after puberty when their concentrations are higher than during childhood.

  • $\begingroup$ Regarding the third Wikipedia link, it would be best if you could include some significant passages. Links die, or the content might be removed, and it really is best to have relevant content available in the answer itself. You don't have to go overboard, but making the answer a bit lengthy isn't a problem if it's a good answer. $\endgroup$
    – Harris
    Aug 25, 2017 at 14:25
  • $\begingroup$ @Harris Weinstein thank u for ur suggestion..i will brief them.hope it helps. $\endgroup$
    – user 33690
    Aug 26, 2017 at 9:32

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