White Matter Density in Patients with Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder and Their Unaffected Relatives

Division of Psychiatry, University of Edinburgh, Royal Edinburgh Hospital, Edinburgh EH10 5HF, Scotland, UK.
Biological Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 10.26). 09/2005; 58(3):254-7. DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2005.03.044
Source: PubMed


This study sought to assess white matter density in patients and relatives with histories of bipolar disorder and/or schizophrenia.
Subjects included those with schizophrenia from families affected by schizophrenia alone, those with bipolar disorder from families affected by bipolar disorder alone and those with bipolar disorder from families affected by both bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Unaffected relatives of the three patient groups were also recruited. Subjects underwent an MRI brain scan which was analyzed using a white-matter optimized technique.
Subjects with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder showed reduced white matter density in the anterior limb of the internal capsule which was not found in unaffected relatives. Reductions were found in frontal subgyral white matter density in affected subjects with a family history of schizophrenia only.
Abnormal anterior internal capsule white matter may provide a structural substrate for both disorders.

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    • "We therefore interpreted the changes as most likely attributable to the internal capsule. Abnormalities of white matter density of the internal capsule have been described previously in schizophrenia patients (Zhou et al. 2003; McIntosh et al. 2005). Also, a study on the NRG1 rs6994992 variant reported reduced white matter integrity in the anterior limb of the internal capsule (McIntosh et al. 2007). "
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    • "Despite the increasing number of DTI studies in affective disorders, the current amount of evidence for WM morphometry in BD is still limited. Only five studies to date have evaluated regional WM volumes in BD patients (Bruno et al., 2004; McIntosh et al., 2005; Nugent et al., 2006; Scherk et al., 2008; Tost et al., 2010) and their unaffected relatives (McIntosh et al., 2005; van der Schot et al., 2009) – none recruiting first-episode patients – with conflicting results. To our knowledge, there are no studies assessing WM volume abnormalities in psychotic MDD. "
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    • "Although these diseases are distinct in nature, they share some WM distortions that may contribute to their pathophysiology , including reduced oligodendrocyte number and expression of myelin constituents (for recent reviews, see Matute, 2010; Stys, 2011). Neuropathological studies have revealed myelin defects and oligodendrocyte alterations in brain tissue from schizophrenic patients, correlating with the decreased expression of myelin-related genes (McIntosh et al., 2005). For instance, histological studies have demonstrated an abnormal distribution and decreased density of oligodendrocytes in the frontal regions of the cerebral cortex in schizophrenic patients, as well as reduced cell numbers in certain cortical layers (Uranova et al., 2004). "
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