Tract-specific analysis of white matter integrity disruption in schizophrenia.
ABSTRACT Several studies have suggested that white matter integrity is disrupted in some brain regions in patients with schizophrenia. The purpose of this study was to assess the white matter integrity of the cingulum, uncinate fasciculus, fornix, and corpus callosum using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). Participants comprised 39 patients with schizophrenia (19 males and 20 females) and 40 age-matched normal controls (20 males and 20 females). We quantitatively assessed the fractional anisotropy (FA) and apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) of the anterior cingulum, body of the cingulum, uncinate fasciculus, fornix, and corpus callosum on a tract-specific basis using diffusion tensor tractography (DTT). Group differences in FA and ADC between the patients and normal controls were sought. Additional exploratory analyses of the relationship between the FA or ADC and four clinical parameters (i.e., illness duration, positive symptom scores, negative symptom scores, and medication dosage) were performed. Results were analyzed in gender-combined and gender-separated group comparisons. FA was significantly lower on both sides of the anterior cingulum, uncinate fasciculus, and fornix in the schizophrenia patients irrespective of gender group separation. In the gender-combined analyses, significantly higher ADC values were demonstrated in the schizophrenia patients in both sides of the anterior cingulum, body of the cingulum and uncinate fasciculus, the left fornix, and the corpus callosum, compared with those of the normal controls. In the gender-separated analyses, the male patients showed higher ADC in the left anterior cingulum, the bilateral cingulum bodies, and the bilateral uncinate fasciculi. The female patients showed higher ADC in the right anterior cingulum, the left fornix, and the bilateral uncinate fasciculus. In correlation analyses, a significant negative correlation was found between illness duration and ADC in the right anterior cingulum in the gender-combined analyses. The gender-separated analyses found that the male patients had a significant negative correlation between negative symptom scores and FA in the right fornix, a positive correlation between illness duration and FA in the right anterior cingulum, and a negative correlation between illness duration and FA in the left uncinate fasciculus. Our DTI study showed that the integrity of white matter is disrupted in patients with schizophrenia. The results of our sub-analyses suggest that changes in FA and ADC may be related to negative symptom scores or illness duration.