Brain changes in transsexuals, other gender based disorders and other developmental disorders
Serbia (IFMSA-Serbia) - University of Belgrade, Belgrade
University of Belgrade, Faculty of Medicine, Institute of Anatomy "Niko Miljanic"
Prof. Branislav Filipovic
Prof. Filipovic, Assoc. Prof Milan Aksic
4 weeks
Cities/Months Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Augt Sep Oct Nov Dec
No No No No No No No No Yes Yes Yes No
Type of Research Project
- Clinical Project with Laboratory work
What is the background of the project?
Sex atypical differentiation of the brain, due to genetic, and/or an early organizational effect of testosterone during the fetal development is the base for most current hypotheses for transsexuality. Several postmortem studies have shown that the brain of a transgender individual has some characteristics of the sex they identify with. This project is based on the analysis of the brain magnetic resonance imaging scans of the transsexuals before and after the sex change surgery, and establishing the reliable experimental model.
What is the aim of the project?
To evaluate brain changes in some structures like stria terminalis, bed nucleus of the stria terminalis, sexually dimorphic nucleus and structures which are responisble for sexuallity in transsexuals before and after surgery of their sex in humans and establish whether early life stress and maternal deprivation leads to changes in the limbic system structures: the amygdala and the nucleus accumbens
What techniques and methods are used?
Humans 1. Magnetic resonance imaging scaning – patient will be examined by magnetic resonance imaging scaning before and after operation 2. Analysis volumetry of brain structures of magnetic resonance imaging scan before and after operation and determination grade of changes in volumetry of brain structures. Animals 1. Wistar rats will be put together in plexiglass cages in a temperature controlled room (23±1°C) and exposed 24 hours maternal deprivation and there will be second - control group 2. After certain time rats will be sacrificed and their brain will be fixed by formaldehide and frozen and sliced 3. On confocal microscopy will be determine differences in brain structures in maternal deprivation exposed group and controlled group of rats
What is the role of the student?
- The student will observe the practical experiments but will be highly involved in the analysis of the results
- The tasks will be done under supervision
What are the tasks expected to be accomplished by the student?
Students are going to be taught to recognize the structures of interest on the histological specimens, to indentify and isolate structures of interest, to measure neuronal somata and perimeter, to calculate volumes of the structures, volumetric and surface density of neurons in the structures, to interpret the findings from the confocal microscope. All tasks will be done under supervision
Will there be any theoretical teaching provided (preliminary readings, lectures, courses, seminars etc)
An introduction seminar is necessary to introduce the work in the laboratory.
What is expected from the student at the end of the research exchange? What will be the general outcome of the student?
- The student will prepare a presentation
What skills are required of the student? Is there any special knowledge or a certain level of studies needed?
Subjects passed: Anatomy and Histology A decent knowledge of the central nervous system anatomy and histology.
Are there any legal limitations in the student’s involvement
Type of students accepted
This project accepts:
- Medical students
- Graduated students (less than 6 months)
- Aleksić D; Aksić M; Radonjić NV; Jovanović A; Marković B; Petronijević N; Radonjić V; Mališ M; Filipović B. Long-term Effects of Maternal Deprivation on the Volume; Number and Size of Neurons in the Amygdala and Nucleus Accumbens of Rats. Psychiatr Danub. 2016;28(3):211-219.
- Starcevic A; Petricevic S; Radojicic Z; Djulejic V; Ilankovic A; Starcevic B; Filipovic B. Glucocorticoid levels after exposure to predator odor and chronic psychosocial stress with dexamethasone application in rats. Kaohsiung J Med Sci. 2016 May;32(5):235-40.