Grey matter volume correlates with virtual water maze task performance in boys with androgen excess

S. C. Mueller, D. P. Merke, E. W. Leschek, S. Fromm, C. Grillon, B. R. Cornwell, C. VanRyzin, M. Ernst

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Major questions remain about the specific role of testosterone in human spatial navigation. We tested 10 boys (mean age 11.65 years) with an extremely rare disorder of androgen excess (Familial Male Precocious Puberty, FMPP) and 40 healthy boys (mean age 12.81 years) on a virtual version of the Morris Water Maze task. In addition, anatomical magnetic resonance images were collected for all patients and a subsample of the controls (n=21) after task completion. Behaviourally, no significant differences were found between both groups. However, in the MRI analyses, grey matter volume (GMV) was correlated with performance using voxel-based morphometry (VBM). Group differences in correlations of performance with GMV were apparent in medial regions of the prefrontal cortex as well as the middle occipital gyrus and the cuneus. By comparison, similar correlations for both groups were found in the inferior parietal lobule. These data provide novel insight into the relation between testosterone and brain development and suggest that morphological differences in a spatial navigation network covary with performance in spatial ability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)225-232
Number of pages8
StatePublished - Dec 1 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Development
  • Familial male precocious puberty
  • Spatial navigation
  • Testosterone
  • VBM
  • Virtual water maze

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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