Anterior limb of the internal capsule in schizophrenia: A diffusion tensor tractography study

Psychiatry Neuroimaging Laboratory, Department of Psychiatry and Radiology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, 1249 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02215, USA.
Brain Imaging and Behavior (Impact Factor: 4.6). 03/2012; 6(3):417-25. DOI: 10.1007/s11682-012-9152-9
Source: PubMed


Thalamo-cortical feedback loops play a key role in the processing and coordination of processing and integration of perceptual inputs and outputs, and disruption in this connection has long been hypothesized to contribute significantly to neuropsychological disturbances in schizophrenia. To test this hypothesis, we applied diffusion tensor tractography to 18 patients suffering schizophrenia and 20 control subjects. Fractional anisotropy (FA) was evaluated in the bilateral anterior and posterior limbs of the internal capsule, and correlated with clinical and neurocognitive measures. Patients diagnosed with schizophrenia showed significantly reduced FA bilaterally in the anterior but not the posterior limb of the internal capsule, compared with healthy control subjects. Lower FA correlated with lower scores on tests of declarative episodic memory in the patient group only. These findings suggest that disruptions, bilaterally, in thalamo-cortical connections in schizophrenia may contribute to disease-related impairment in the coordination of mnemonic processes of encoding and retrieval that are vital for efficient learning of new information.

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Available from: Martha E Shenton, Dec 19, 2013
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    • "White matter abnormalities in the anterior thalamic radiation have not been previously shown in CD, but are consistently identified correlates of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder (Sussmann et al., 2009; Mamah et al., 2010). White matter abnormalities in the cerebrospinal tract/ALIC have not previously been linked to CD, but are associated with depression and schizophrenia (Rosenberger et al., 2012; Zhang et al., 2013). It is now clear that the cerebellum plays a role in the modulation of cognitive , emotional, and social processes, and an intact cerebellar vermis is essential for providing neocortical regulation of the limbic system (Villanueva, 2012). "
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    ABSTRACT: Associations between white matter pathway abnormalities and antisocial personality disorder in adults are well replicated, and there is some evidence for an association of white matter abnormalities with conduct disorder (CD) in adolescents. In this study, white matter maturation using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) was examined in 110 children aged 10.0±0.8 years selected to vary widely in their numbers of CD symptoms. The results replicated age-related increases in fractional anisotropy (FA) found in previous studies. There was not a significant association between the number of CD symptoms and FA, but CD symptoms were found to be significantly associated with greater axial and radial diffusivity in a broad range of white matter tracts, particularly in girls. In complementary analyses, there were similar significant differences in axial and radial diffusivity between children who met diagnostic criteria for CD and healthy children with no symptoms of CD, particularly in girls. Brain structural abnormalities may contribute to the emergence of CD in childhood, perhaps playing a greater role in girls. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2015 · Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging
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    • "Internal capsule VBM Kubicki et al., 2005; Buchsbaum et al., 2006; Munoz Maniega et al., 2008; Skelly et al., 2008; Sussmann et al., 2009; Nakamura et al., 2012; Levitt et al., 2012 Tractography Oh et al., 2009; Rosenberger et al., 2012 TBSS Seal et al., 2008; Knochel et al., 2012 Cortico-spinal tract TBSS Knochel et al., 2012 Tractography de Weijer et al., 2011 Corona radiata VBM Cui et al., 2011 TBSS Fujino et al., 2014 Middle cerebellar peduncles VBM Okugawa et al., 2004 tracts being affected, there is more likely an array of subtly altered networks distributed throughout the brain. Nevertheless, it could also be argued that the data suggest that the connectivity of frontal regions is particularly affected. "
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    ABSTRACT: In patients with schizophrenia neuroimaging studies have revealed global differences with some brain regions showing focal abnormalities. Examining neurocircuitry, diffusion-weighted imaging studies have identified altered structural integrity of white matter in frontal and temporal brain regions and tracts such as the cingulum bundles, uncinate fasciculi, internal capsules and corpus callosum associated with the illness. Furthermore, structural co-variance analyses have revealed altered structural relationships among regional morphology in the thalamus, frontal, temporal and parietal cortices in schizophrenia patients. The distributed nature of these abnormalities in schizophrenia suggests that multiple brain circuits are impaired, a neural feature that may be better addressed with network level analyses. However, even with the advent of these newer analyses, a large amount of variability in findings remains, likely partially due to the considerable heterogeneity present in this disorder.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2014 · Frontiers in Human Neuroscience
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    • "Diffusion Tensor Imaging studies have identified reduced fractional anisotropy in a number of regions and tracts in schizophrenia [2,5,8,27]. These include the corpus callosum [2,5,28-38], Anterior Limb of the Internal Capsule regions [5,28,33,35,38-41], corona radiata [28,35], cingulum bundle [2,5,33,35,38,42,43], inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus (IFOF) [5,28,33,44], superior fronto-occipital fasciculus (SFOF) [28,33], uncinate fasciculus [2,33,38,42,43], fornix [5,28,33,43], superior longitudinal fasciculus (SLF) [2,28,34,35,38], inferior longitudinal fasciculus (ILF) [5,28,31,34,44], optic radiations [28], hippocampus and cerebellum [2]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Gray and white matter brain changes have been found in schizophrenia but the anatomical organizing process underlying these changes remains unknown. We aimed to identify gray and white matter volumetric changes in a group of patients with schizophrenia and to quantify the distribution of white matter tract changes using a novel approach which applied three complementary analyses to diffusion imaging data. 21 patients with schizophrenia and 21 matched control subjects underwent brain magnetic resonance imaging. Gray and white matter volume differences were investigated using Voxel-based Morphometry (VBM). White matter diffusion changes were located using Tract Based Spatial Statistics (TBSS) and quantified within a standard atlas. Tracts where significant regional differences were located were examined using fiber tractography. No significant differences in gray or white matter volumetry were found between the two groups. Using TBSS the schizophrenia group showed significantly lower fractional anisotropy (FA) compared to the controls in regions (false discovery rate <0.05) including the genu, body and splenium of the corpus callosum and the left anterior limb of the internal capsule (ALIC). Using fiber tractography, FA was significantly lower in schizophrenia in the corpus callosum genu (p = 0.003). In schizophrenia, white matter diffusion deficits are prominent in medial frontal regions. These changes are consistent with the results of previous studies which have detected white matter changes in these areas. The pathology of schizophrenia may preferentially affect the prefrontal-thalamic white matter circuits traversing these regions.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2014 · BMC Psychiatry
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