Fusiform Gyrus Volume Reduction and Facial Recognition in Chronic Schizophrenia

Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
Archives of General Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 14.48). 05/2003; 60(4):349-55. DOI: 10.1001/archpsyc.60.4.349
Source: PubMed


The fusiform gyrus (FG), or occipitotemporal gyrus, is thought to subserve the processing and encoding of faces. Of note, several studies have reported that patients with schizophrenia show deficits in facial processing. It is thus hypothesized that the FG might be one brain region underlying abnormal facial recognition in schizophrenia. The objectives of this study were to determine whether there are abnormalities in gray matter volumes for the anterior and the posterior FG in patients with chronic schizophrenia and to investigate relationships between FG subregions and immediate and delayed memory for faces.
Patients were recruited from the Boston VA Healthcare System, Brockton Division, and control subjects were recruited through newspaper advertisement. Study participants included 21 male patients diagnosed as having chronic schizophrenia and 28 male controls. Participants underwent high-spatial-resolution magnetic resonance imaging, and facial recognition memory was evaluated. Main outcome measures included anterior and posterior FG gray matter volumes based on high-spatial-resolution magnetic resonance imaging, a detailed and reliable manual delineation using 3-dimensional information, and correlation coefficients between FG subregions and raw scores on immediate and delayed facial memory derived from the Wechsler Memory Scale III.
Patients with chronic schizophrenia had overall smaller FG gray matter volumes (10%) than normal controls. Additionally, patients with schizophrenia performed more poorly than normal controls in both immediate and delayed facial memory tests. Moreover, the degree of poor performance on delayed memory for faces was significantly correlated with the degree of bilateral anterior FG reduction in patients with schizophrenia.
These results suggest that neuroanatomic FG abnormalities underlie at least some of the deficits associated with facial recognition in schizophrenia.

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Available from: Martha E Shenton
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    • "Fahim et al. (2004) found impaired activations of cortical areas related to emotional memory in a discordant twin pair for schizophrenia. Brain structures associated with the processing of facial information, such as the fusiform gyrus, may be especially vulnerable (Onitsuka et al., 2003; Mancini-Marie et al., 2004). Platek et al. (2005) demonstrated a relationship between abnormal medial prefrontal activation, schizotypal traits, and Eyes Test performance, which raises the possibility that subclinical symptoms may be present in children at risk of schizophrenia. "
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    • "It suggested patients diagnosed with schizophrenia displayed logical deficits, which led to the symptoms such as hallucination and delusion. Several studies have demonstrated it [55,56], just as Hall et al. [57] found the patients with schizophrenia showed a relative lower overall connectivity between the fusiform gyrus and amygdale and Onitsuka et al. [58] found performance deficits on both immediate and delayed facial memory tests significantly correlated with the degree of bilateral anterior fusiform gyri activity reduction in patients with schizophrenia. Besides, we found the increased functional connection of fusiform gyrus with the orbital part of superior frontal cortex, the gyrus rectus and the inferior temporal gyrus in Table 2, just as Jafri et al. [53] and Zhou et al. [59] found that some functional connections increased in schizophrenia. "
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    • "Neuroanatomical, functional, and pathological abnormalities of the FG have been reported in schizophrenia. For example, structural MRI studies have demonstrated reduced FG gray matter volume in chronic schizophrenia (e.g., Onitsuka et al., 2003). A recent fMRI study reported that schizophrenics exhibited lower blood oxygenation level-dependent activation in the right FFA during the memorization of faces (Walther et al., 2009). "
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