Developmental trajectories of cortical thickness by functional brain network: The roles of pubertal timing and socioeconomic status

Ashley F.P. Sanders, Graham L. Baum, Michael P. Harms, Sridhar Kandala, Susan Y. Bookheimer, Mirella Dapretto, Leah H. Somerville, Kathleen M. Thomas, David C. Van Essen, Essa Yacoub, Deanna M. Barch

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5 Scopus citations


The human cerebral cortex undergoes considerable changes during development, with cortical maturation patterns reflecting regional heterogeneity that generally progresses in a posterior-to-anterior fashion. However, the organizing principles that govern cortical development remain unclear. In the current study, we characterized age-related differences in cortical thickness (CT) as a function of sex, pubertal timing, and two dissociable indices of socioeconomic status (i.e., income-to-needs and maternal education) in the context of functional brain network organization, using a cross-sectional sample (n = 789) diverse in race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status from the Lifespan Human Connectome Project in Development (HCP-D). We found that CT generally followed a linear decline from 5 to 21 years of age, except for three functional networks that displayed nonlinear trajectories. We found no main effect of sex or age by sex interaction for any network. Earlier pubertal timing was associated with reduced mean CT and CT in seven networks. We also found a significant age by maternal education interaction for mean CT across cortex and CT in the dorsal attention network, where higher levels of maternal education were associated with steeper age-related decreases in CT. Taken together, our results suggest that these biological and environmental variations may impact the emerging functional connectome.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101145
JournalDevelopmental Cognitive Neuroscience
StatePublished - Oct 2022


  • Brain development
  • Brain networks
  • Cortical thickness
  • HCP
  • Puberty
  • Socioeconomic status


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