Cortical Thickness and Subcortical Volumes in Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder

Department of Psychiatry, Section Vinderen, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway.
Biological psychiatry (Impact Factor: 10.26). 07/2010; 68(1):41-50. DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2010.03.036
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Schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are severe psychiatric diseases with overlapping symptomatology. Widespread brain morphologic abnormalities, including cortical thinning and subcortical volume reductions, have been demonstrated in schizophrenia but it is unclear whether similar abnormalities are present in bipolar disorder. The purpose of this study was to compare cortical thickness and subcortical volumes in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, to assess differences and similarities in cortical and subcortical brain structure.
We analyzed magnetic resonance images from a sample of 173 patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorder, 139 patients with bipolar disorder, and 207 healthy control subjects. Cortical thickness was compared between the groups in multiple locations across the continuous cortical surface. Subcortical volumes were compared on a structure-by-structure basis.
There was widespread cortical thinning in schizophrenia compared with control subjects, in frontal, temporal, occipital, and smaller parietal regions. There was no cortical thinning in bipolar disorder compared with control subjects or in schizophrenia compared with bipolar disorder. However, the subgroup of patients with bipolar disorder Type 1 showed cortical thinning, primarily in the frontal lobes and superior temporal and temporoparietal regions. Both patient groups showed substantial subcortical volume reductions bilaterally in the hippocampus, the left thalamus, the right nucleus accumbens, the left cerebellar cortex, and the brainstem, along with substantial ventricular enlargements.
We found substantial overlap in the underlying brain morphologic abnormalities in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder in subcortical structures, and between schizophrenia and bipolar disorder Type 1 in the cerebral cortex.

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    • "For example, both smaller and larger volumes of the amygdala , hippocampus and striatum have been reported (Emsell and McDonald, 2009; Savitz and Drevets, 2009; Rimol et al., 2010; Hajek et al., 2012; Phillips and Swartz, 2014). Furthermore , smaller volumes of the thalamus and nucleus accumbens have been shown in BD (Rimol et al., 2010) although the majority of studies investigating the thalamus report no differences in volume between BD patients and healthy controls (Emsell and McDonald, 2009). "
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    ABSTRACT: The influence of genes and environment on the association between bipolar disorder (BD) and volumes of subcortical brain regions involved in emotion processing has rarely been studied. Furthermore, as far as we know, longitudinal twin studies of subcortical brain volume change in BD have not been carried out at all. In this study, we focused on the genetic and environmental contributions to cross-sectional and longitudinal measures of subcortical brain volumes in BD. A total of 99 twins from monozygotic and dizygotic pairs concordant or discordant for BD and 129 twins from monozygotic and dizygotic healthy control pairs underwent magnetic resonance imaging at baseline. Longitudinal assessment was carried out in 48 twins from monozygotic and dizygotic patient pairs and 52 twins from monozygotic and dizygotic control pairs. Subcortical volume measures were obtained with Freesurfer software and analyzed with structural equation modeling software OpenMx. At baseline, BD was phenotypically and genetically associated with smaller volumes of the thalamus, putamen and nucleus accumbens. BD was not associated with subcortical brain volume change over time in any of the examined regions. Heritability of subcortical volumes at baseline was high, whereas subcortical volume change had low heritability. Genes contributing to BD showed overlap with those associated with smaller volumes of the thalamus, putamen and nucleus accumbens at baseline. Further evaluation of genetic contributions to abnormalities in subcortical brain regions assumed to be involved in emotion processing is recommended.
    European neuropsychopharmacology: the journal of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology 10/2015; DOI:10.1016/j.euroneuro.2015.09.023 · 4.37 Impact Factor
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    • "The current finding is in line with previous reports of frontotemporal and insular gray matter reductions in SZ (Glahn et al., 2008; Nesvag et al., 2008; Rimol et al., 2010; Schultz et al., 2012b; Shepherd et al., 2012), which may reflect alterations at the neuronal and synaptic level, with consequences for cognitive networks and processing. Evidence from DTI studies suggests disruptions of fronto-temporal white matter bundles in SZ, including the uncinate fasciculus (Kubicki et al., 2002; Samartzis et al., 2014). "
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    ABSTRACT: Schizophrenia (SZ) is a psychotic disorder with significant cognitive dysfunction. Abnormal brain activation during cognitive processing has been reported, both in task-positive and task-negative networks. Further, structural cortical and subcortical brain abnormalities have been documented, but little is known about how task-related brain activation is associated with brain anatomy in SZ compared to healthy controls (HC). Utilizing linked independent component analysis (LICA), a data-driven multimodal analysis approach, we investigated structure–function associations in a large sample of SZ (n = 96) and HC (n = 142). We tested for associations between task-positive (fronto-parietal) and task-negative (default-mode) brain networks derived from fMRI activation during an n-back working memory task, and brain structural measures of surface area, cortical thickness, and gray matter volume, and to what extent these associations differed in SZ compared to HC. A significant association (p b .05, corrected for multiple comparisons) was found between a component reflecting the task-positive fronto-parietal network and another component reflecting cortical thickness in fronto-temporal brain regions in SZ, indicating increased activation with increased thickness. Other structure–function associations across, between and within groups were generally moderate and significant at a nominal p-level only, with more numerous and stronger associations in SZ compared to HC. These results indicate a complex pattern of moderate associations between brain activation during cognitive processing and brain morphometry, and extend previous findings of fronto-temporal brain abnormalities in SZ by suggesting a coupling between cortical thickness of these brain regions and working memory-related brain activation.
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    • "Potential endophenotypes of schizophrenia have also emerged from neuroimaging, e.g., structural imaging studies. Two examples for neuroimaging endophenotypes are the volume and the thickness of the superior temporal gyrus (STG) (Pearlson, 1997; Rimol et al., 2010). The STG includes Heschl's gyrus as well as the planum temporale and is involved in auditory processes, speech, language, communication and social cognition (Pelphrey et al., 2004). "
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    ABSTRACT: Schizophrenia is a highly disabling psychiatric disorder with a heterogeneous phenotypic appearance. We aimed to further the understanding of some of the underlying genetics of schizophrenia, using left superior temporal gyrus (STG) grey matter thickness reduction as an endophenoptype in a genome-wide association (GWA) study. Structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and genetic data of the Mind Clinical Imaging Consortium (MCIC) study of schizophrenia were used to analyse the interaction effects between 1,067,955 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and disease status on left STG thickness in 126 healthy controls and 113 patients with schizophrenia. We next used a pathway approach to detect underlying pathophysiological pathways that may be related to schizophrenia. No SNP by diagnosis interaction effect reached genome-wide significance (5 × 10(-8)) in our GWA study, but 10 SNPs reached P-values less than 10(-6). The most prominent pathways included those involved in insulin, calcium, PI3K-Akt and MAPK signalling. Our strongest findings in the GWA study and pathway analysis point towards an involvement of glucose metabolism in left STG thickness reduction in patients with schizophrenia only. These results are in line with recently published studies, which showed an increased prevalence of psychosis among patients with metabolic syndrome-related illnesses including diabetes.
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