Evidence of altered prefrontal-thalamic circuitry in schizophrenia: An optimized diffusion MRI study

Centre for Magnetic Resonance, University of Queensland, Brisbane 4072, Australia.
NeuroImage (Impact Factor: 6.13). 09/2006; 32(1):16-22. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2006.03.003
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT MRI diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), optimized for measuring the trace of the diffusion tensor, was used to investigate microstructural changes in the brains of 12 individuals with schizophrenia compared with 12 matched control subjects. To control for the effects of anatomic variation between subject groups, all participants' diffusion images were nonlinearly registered to standard anatomical space. Significant statistical differences in mean diffusivity (MD) measures between the two groups were determined on a pixel-by-pixel basis, using Gaussian random field theory. We found significantly elevated MD measures within temporal, parietal and prefrontal cortical regions in the schizophrenia group (P > 0.001), especially within the medial frontal gyrus and anterior cingulate. The dorsal medial and anterior nucleus of the thalamus, including the caudate, also exhibited significantly increased MD in the schizophrenia group (P > 0.001). This study has shown for the first time that MD measures offer an alternative strategy for investigating altered prefrontal-thalamic circuitry in schizophrenia.

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Early visual deprivation may lead to both abnormal and plastic changes in the visual and other systems of the brain. Such secondary changes in the gray matter of the early blind have been well studied, but not so well in the cerebral white matter whose subtle changes may be revealed by diffusion tensor imaging. The first purpose of this study is to explore the possible changed white matter regions of the early blind in whole brain manners, using voxel-based analysis (VBA) and tract-based spatial statistics (TBSS) methods. The second purpose is to investigate the changes of diffusion eigenvalues in the abnormal white matter fiber tracts using tractography based group mapping analysis. From VBA of fractional anisotropy (FA) images, the significant changed white matter regions were the geniculocalcarine tract (GCT) and its adjacent regions. This finding was validated by TBSS method. Then we studied the changes of mean diffusivity (MD), FA, primary (lambda(1)) and transverse diffusivities (lambda(23)) in the GCT using tractography based group mapping analysis. We found the early blind had significantly lower FA (P < 0.0001), higher MD (P = 0.001) and lambda(23) (P < 0.0001) in the GCT. This pattern of diffusion changes is similar to findings seen in immaturity or axonal degeneration. Thus, we suggest that transneuronal degeneration and/or immaturity may account for the abnormal diffusion changes in the GCT of the early blind.
    Human Brain Mapping 01/2009; 30(1):220-7. DOI:10.1002/hbm.20507 · 6.92 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The thalamus, which consists of multiple subnuclei, has been of particular interest in the study of schizophrenia. This study aimed to identify abnormalities in the connectivity-based subregions of the thalamus in patients with schizophrenia. Thalamic volume was measured by a manual tracing on superimposed images of T1-weighted and diffusion tensor images in 30 patients with schizophrenia and 22 normal volunteers. Cortical regional volumes automatically measured by a surface-based approach and thalamic subregional volumes measured by a connectivity-based technique were compared between the two groups and their correlations between the connected regions were calculated in each group. Volume reduction was observed in the bilateral orbitofrontal cortices and the left cingulate gyrus on the cortical side, whereas in subregions connected to the right orbitofrontal cortex and bilateral parietal cortices on the thalamic side. Significant volumetric correlations were identified between the right dorsal prefrontal cortex and its related thalamic subregion and between the left parietal cortex and its related thalamic subregion only in the normal group. Our results suggest that patients with schizophrenia have a structural deficit in the corticothalamic systems, especially in the orbitofrontal-thalamic system. Our findings may present evidence of corticothalamic connection problems in schizophrenia.
    Schizophrenia Research 01/2008; 97(1-3):226-35. DOI:10.1016/j.schres.2007.09.007 · 4.43 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Inter- and intra-hemispheric connectivity disturbances have been suggested to play a major role in schizophrenia. To this extent, diffusion weighted imaging (DWI) is a relatively new technique examining subtle white matter microstructure organization. DWI studies in schizophrenia strongly suggest that white matter communication is disrupted. This supports the hypothesis that there is a cortico-cortical and transcallosal altered connectivity in schizophrenia, which may be relevant for the pathophysiology and the cognitive disturbances of the disorder. Future longitudinal diffusion and functional imaging studies targeting brain communication together with genetic investigations should further characterize white matter pathology in schizophrenia and its relevance for the development of the illness.
    International Review of Psychiatry 09/2007; 19(4):459-68. DOI:10.1080/09540260701500975 · 1.80 Impact Factor