Anatomical Abnormalities in Gray and White Matter of the Cortical Surface in Persons with Schizophrenia

Colibazzi, Tiziano; Wexler, Bruce E.; Bansal, Ravi; Hao, Xuejun; Liu, Jun; Sanchez-Peña, Juan; Corcoran, Cheryl; Lieberman, Jeffrey A.; Peterson, Bradley S.
February 2013
PLoS ONE;Feb2013, Vol. 8 Issue 2, p1
Academic Journal
Background: Although schizophrenia has been associated with abnormalities in brain anatomy, imaging studies have not fully determined the nature and relative contributions of gray matter (GM) and white matter (WM) disturbances underlying these findings. We sought to determine the pattern and distribution of these GM and WM abnormalities. Furthermore, we aimed to clarify the contribution of abnormalities in cortical thickness and cortical surface area to the reduced GM volumes reported in schizophrenia. Methods: We recruited 76 persons with schizophrenia and 57 healthy controls from the community and obtained measures of cortical and WM surface areas, of local volumes along the brain and WM surfaces, and of cortical thickness. Results: We detected reduced local volumes in patients along corresponding locations of the brain and WM surfaces in addition to bilateral greater thickness of perisylvian cortices and thinner cortex in the superior frontal and cingulate gyri. Total cortical and WM surface areas were reduced. Patients with worse performance on the serial-position task, a measure of working memory, had a higher burden of WM abnormalities. Conclusions: Reduced local volumes along the surface of the brain mirrored the locations of abnormalities along the surface of the underlying WM, rather than of abnormalities of cortical thickness. Moreover, anatomical features of white matter, but not cortical thickness, correlated with measures of working memory. We propose that reductions in WM and smaller total cortical surface area could be central anatomical abnormalities in schizophrenia, driving, at least partially, the reduced regional GM volumes often observed in this illness.


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