Sulcal thickness as a vulnerability indicator for schizophrenia

University of California, Davis, Davis, California, United States
The British Journal of Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 7.99). 10/2007; 191(3):229-33. DOI: 10.1192/bjp.bp.106.034595
Source: PubMed


People with schizophrenia may demonstrate cortical abnormalities, with gyri and sulci potentially being differentially affected.
To measure frontal and temporal sulcal cortical thickness, surface area and volume in the non-psychotic relatives of patients with schizophrenia as a potential vulnerability indicator for the disorder.
An automated parcellation method was used to measure the superior frontal, inferior frontal, cingulate, superior temporal and inferior temporal sulci in the relatives of patients (n=19) and controls (n=22).
Compared with controls, relatives had reversed hemispheric asymmetry in their cingulate sulcal thickness and a bilateral reduction in their superior temporal sulcal thickness.
Cingulate and superior temporal sulcal thickness abnormalities may reflect neural abnormalities associated with the genetic liability to schizophrenia. Cortical thinning in these regions suggests that liability genes affect the dendrites, synapses or myelination process during the neurodevelopment of the cortical mantle.

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Available from: Vina M Goghari, Jan 04, 2014
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    • "Due to the putative pathogenetic neurodevelopmental mechanisms proposed to underlie schizophrenia (Rapoport et al., 2005; Weinberger, 1987) cortical thickness may be of even greater etiologic relevance than grey matter volume or density. Cortical thickness measures have been shown to be heritable (Goghari et al., 2007; Gogtay et al., 2007; Goldman et al., 2009; Winkler et al., 2010) suggesting that this aspect of cortical anatomy may represent a reliable intermediate phenotype for schizophrenia (Gottesman and Gould, 2003). "
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    08/2015; 234(1). DOI:10.1016/j.pscychresns.2015.08.008
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    • "Vita and coauthors (2006) showed that morphological changes are already present in the first-episode psychosis patients. Furthermore, studies of unaffected adult first-degree relatives of schizophrenic patients demonstrated reversed hemispheric asymmetry (Goghari et al. 2007a) and reduced cortical surface area (Goghari et al. 2007b) in the cingulate and the superior temporal cortex (Schultz et al. 2009). However, several longitudinal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies in the first-episode schizophrenic patients have demonstrated progressive brain changes in the years following illness onset (Gur et al. 1998, Ho et al. 2003, Kasai et al. 2003, Nakamura et al. 2007, Sun et al. 2009). "
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    • "In addition, genetic studies have suggested a heritability component for CT loss but not volume in SCZ (Goghari et al., 2007; Gogtay et al., 2007; Goldmen et al., 2009; Winkler et al., 2009). CT measures for Heschl's gyrus (HG), planum temporale (PT), and the lateral aspect (LA) of the STG were obtained, as 100ms auditory activity has been shown to be generated in these areas. "
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    ABSTRACT: Although gray matter (GM) abnormalities are frequently observed in individuals with schizophrenia (SCZ), the functional consequences of these structural abnormalities are not yet understood. The present study sought to better understand GM abnormalities in SCZ by examining associations between GM and two putative functional SCZ biomarkers: weak 100 ms (M100) auditory responses and impairment on tests of attention. Data were available from 103 subjects (healthy controls=52, SCZ=51). GM cortical thickness measures were obtained for superior temporal gyrus (STG) and prefrontal cortex (PFC). Magnetoencephalography (MEG) provided measures of left and right STG M100 source strength. Subjects were administered the Trail Making Test A and the Connors' Continuous Performance Test to assess attention. A strong trend indicated less GM cortical thickness in SCZ than controls in both regions and in both hemispheres (p=0.06). Individuals with SCZ had weaker M100 responses than controls bilaterally, and individuals with SCZ performed more poorly than controls on tests of attention. Across groups, left STG GM was positively associated with left M00 source strength. In SCZ only, less left and right STG and PFC GM predicted poorer performance on tests of attention. After removing variance in attention associated with age, associations between GM and attention remained significant only in left and right STG. Reduced GM cortical thickness may serve as a common substrate for multiple functional abnormalities in SCZ, with structural-functional abnormalities in STG GM especially prominent. As suggested by others, functional abnormalities in SCZ may be a consequence of elimination of the neuropil (dendritic arbors and associated synaptic infrastructure) between neuron bodies.
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