Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies have shown dysfunction in key areas associated with the thalamocortical circuit in patients with schizophrenia. This study examined the functional connectivity involving the frontal-thalamic circuitry during a spatial focusing-of-attention task in 18 unmedicated patients with schizophrenia and 38 healthy controls. Functional connectivity was analyzed by assigning seed regions (in the thalamic nuclei (mediodorsal nucleus (MDN), pulvinar, anterior nucleus (AN)), the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (Brodmann areas 9 and 46), and the caudate), and correlating their respective activity with that in the non-seed regions voxel-wise. Functional connectivity analysis demonstrated that functional connectivity was significantly impaired in patients e.g., between the right pulvinar and regions such as the prefrontal and temporal cortices and the cerebellum. On the other hand, enhanced functional connectivity was found in patients e.g., between the AN and regions such as the prefrontal and temporal cortices. In addition, the patients had significantly lower task performance and less (but non-significant) brain activation than those of controls. These results revealed disturbed functional integration in schizophrenia, and suggested that the functional connectivity abnormalities in the thalamocortical circuitry, especially the frontal-thalamic circuitry, may underlie the attention deficits in schizophrenia patients. Further, this study suggested that functional connectivity analysis might be more sensitive than brain activation analysis in detecting the functional abnormalities in schizophrenia.
Thalamocortical circuitry; Functional connectivity; Spatial attention
Mounting evidence suggests that white matter abnormalities and altered subcortical–cortical connectivity may be central to the pathology of schizophrenia (SZ). The anterior limb of the internal capsule (ALIC) is an important thalamo-frontal white-matter tract shown to have volume reductions in SZ and to a lesser degree in schizotypal personality disorder (SPD). While fractional anisotropy (FA) and connectivity abnormalities in the ALIC have been reported in SZ, they have not been examined in SPD. In the current study, magnetic resonance (MRI) and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) were obtained in age- and sex-matched individuals with SPD (n=33) and healthy controls (HCs; n=38). The ALIC was traced bilaterally on five equally spaced dorsal-to-ventral axial slices from each participant’s MRI scan and co-registered to DTI for the calculation of FA. Tractography was used to examine tracts between the ALIC and two key Brodmann areas (BAs; BA10, BA45) within the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC). Compared with HCs, the SPD participants exhibited (a) smaller relative volume at the mid-ventral ALIC slice level but not the other levels; (b) normal FA within the ALIC; (c) fewer relative number of tracts between the most-dorsal ALIC levels and BA10 but not BA45 and (d) fewer dorsal ALIC–DLPFC tracts were associated with greater symptom severity in SPD. In contrast to prior SZ studies that report lower FA, individuals with SPD show sparing. Our findings are consistent with a pattern of milder thalamo-frontal dysconnectivity in SPD than schizophrenia.
Schizotypal personality disorder; Diffusion tensor imaging; Tractography; Magnetic resonance imaging; Anisotropy; Internal capsule
The very first microfluidic device used for the production of 18F-labeled tracers for clinical research is reported along with the first human Positron Emission Tomography scan obtained with a microfluidically produced radiotracer. The system integrates all operations necessary for the transformation of [18F]fluoride in irradiated cyclotron target water to a dose of radiopharmaceutical suitable for use in clinical research. The key microfluidic technologies developed for the device are a fluoride concentration system and a microfluidic batch reactor assembly. Concentration of fluoride was achieved by means of absorption of the fluoride anion on a micro ion-exchange column (5 μL of resin) followed by release of the radioactivity with 45 μL of the release solution (95 ± 3% overall efficiency). The reactor assembly includes an injection-molded reactor chip and a transparent machined lid press-fitted together. The resulting 50 μL cavity has a unique shape designed to minimize losses of liquid during reactor filling and liquid evaporation. The cavity has 8 ports for gases and liquids, each equipped with a 2-way on-chip mechanical valve rated for pressure up to 20.68 bar (300 psi). The temperature is controlled by a thermoelectric heater capable of heating the reactor up to 180 °C from RT in 150 s. A camera captures live video of the processes in the reactor. HPLC-based purification and reformulation units are also integrated in the device. The system is based on “split-box architecture”, with reagents loaded from outside of the radiation shielding. It can be installed either in a standard hot cell, or as a self-shielded unit. Along with a high level of integration and automation, split-box architecture allowed for multiple production runs without the user being exposed to radiation fields. The system was used to support clinical trials of [18F]fallypride, a neuroimaging radiopharmaceutical under IND Application #109,880.
Physiological and pharmacological studies indicate that altered brain serotonin (5-HT) activity could contribute to a susceptibility to develop appetitive and behavioural alterations that are characteristic of bulimia nervosa (BN).
Eight individuals recovered from BN (REC BN) and eight healthy control women were scanned with [11C]DASB and positron emission tomography imaging of the 5-HT transporter (5-HTT). Logan graphical analysis was applied and parametric binding potential (BPnon displaceable (ND)) images were generated. Voxel-by-voxel t-tests and a region of interest (ROI) analysis were conducted.
REC BN had significantly lower [11C]DASB BPND in midbrain, superior and inferior cingulate and significantly higher [11C]DASB BPND in anterior cingulate and superior temporal gyrus in the voxel based analysis. ROI analysis indicated lower [11C]DASB BPND in midbrain (p=.07), containing the dorsal raphe, in REC BN, consistent with our earlier studies.
These preliminary findings of a small scale study confirm and extend previous data suggesting that ill and recovered BN have altered 5-HTT measures, which potentially contribute to BN symptomology and/or differential responses to medication.
bulimia nervosa; serotonin; transporter; positron emission tomography; imaging; midbrain
Diffusion tensor and structural MRI images were acquired on ninety-six patients with schizophrenia (69 men and 27 women between the ages of 18 and 79 (mean = 39.83, SD = 15.16 DSM-IV diagnosis of schizophrenia according to the Comprehensive Assessment of Symptoms and History). The patients reported a mean age of onset of 23 years (range = 13–38, SD = 6). Patients were divided into an acute subgroup (duration ≤ 3 years, n = 25), and a chronic subgroup (duration > 3 years, n = 64). Ninety-three mentally normal comparison subjects were recruited; 55 men and 38 women between the ages of 18 and 82 (mean = 35.77, SD = 18.12). The MRI images were segmented by Brodmann area, and the fractional anisotropy (FA) for the white matter within each Brodmann area was calculated. The FA in white matter was decreased in patients with schizophrenia broadly across the entire brain, but to a greater extent in white matter underneath frontal, temporal and cingulate cortical areas. Both normals and patients with schizophrenia showed a decrease in anisotropy with age but patients with schizophrenia showed a significantly greater rate of decrease in FA in Brodmann area 10 bilaterally, 11 in the left hemisphere and 34 in the right hemisphere. When the effect of age was removed, patients ill more than three years showed lower anisotropy in frontal motor and cingulate white matter in comparison to acute patients ill three years or less, consistent with an ongoing progression of the illness.
Schizophrenia; White Matter; Diffusion Tensor Imaging; Anisotropy; Brodmann Areas; Age
The cingulate cortex frequently shows gray matter loss with age as well as gender differences in structure and function, but little is known about whether individual cingulate Brodmann areas show gender-specific patterns of age-related volume decline. This study examined age-related changes, gender differences, and the interaction of age and gender in the relative volume of cingulate gray matter in areas 25, 24, 31, 23, and 29, over seven decades of adulthood. Participants included healthy, age-matched men and women, aged 20–87 (n = 70). Main findings were: (1) The whole cingulate showed significant age-related volume declines (averaging 5.54% decline between decades, 20s–80s). Each of the five cingulate areas also showed a significant decline with age, and individual areas showed different patterns of decline across the decades: Smaller volume with age was most evident in area 31, followed by 25 and 24. (2) Women had relatively larger cingulate gray matter volume than men overall and in area 24. (3) Men and women showed different patterns of age-related volume decline in area 31, at midlife and late in life. By delineating normal gender differences and age-related morphometric changes in the cingulate cortex over seven decades of adulthood, this study improves the baseline for comparison with structural irregularities in the cingulate cortex associated with psychopathology. The Brodmann area-based approach also facilitates comparisons across studies that aim to draw inferences between age- and gender-related structural differences in the cingulate gyrus and corresponding differences in cingulate function.
Cingulate cortex; aging; gender differences; MRI; gray matter; morphometry
Molecular imaging of dopaminergic parameters has contributed to the dopamine hypothesis of schizophrenia, expanding our understanding of pathophysiology, clinical phenomenology and treatment. Our aim in this study was to compare 18F-fallypride binding potential BPND in a group of patients with schizophrenia-spectrum illness vs. controls, with a particular focus on the cortex and thalamus.
We acquired 18F-fallypride positron emission tomography images on 33 patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorder (28 with schizophrenia; 5 with schizoaffective disorder) and 18 normal controls. Twenty-four patients were absolutely neuroleptic naïve and nine were previously medicated, although only four had a lifetime neuroleptic exposure of greater than two weeks. Parametric images of 18F-fallypride BPND were calculated to compare binding across subjects.
Decreased BPND was observed in the medial dorsal nucleus of the thalamus, prefrontal cortex, lateral temporal lobe and primary auditory cortex. These findings were most marked in subjects who had never previously received medication.
The regions with decreased BPND tend to match brain regions previously reported to show alterations in metabolic activity and blood flow and areas associated with the symptoms of schizophrenia.
Schizophrenia; Dopamine; Molecular imaging; Positron emission tomography; Thalamus; Cortex
This study examined the main and interactive effects of age and sex on relative glucose metabolic rate (rGMR) within gray matter of 39 cortical Brodmann areas (BAs) and the cingulate gyrus using 18FDG-PET during a verbal memory task in 70 healthy normal adults, aged 20–87 years. Women showed significantly greater age-related rGMR decline in left cingulate gyrus than men (BAs 25, 24, 23, 31, 29). Both groups showed a decline in the anterior cingulate—a neuroanatomical structure that mediates effective cognitive-emotional interactions (BAs 32, 24, 25), while the other frontal regions did not show substantial decline. No sex differences in rGMR were identified within temporal, parietal and occipital lobes. Sex differences were observed for rGMR within subcomponents of the cingulate gyrus with men higher in BA25 and BA29, but lower in BA24 and BA 23 compared to women. For men, better memory performance was associated with greater rGMR in BA24, whereas in women better performance was associated with orbitofrontal-BA12. These results suggest that both age-related metabolic decline and sex differences within frontal regions are more marked in medial frontal and cingulate areas, consistent with some age-related patterns of affective and cognitive change.
Aging; healthy adults; sex differences; 18FDG PET; cingulate; prefrontal cortex
Ventricular enlargement is one of the most consistent abnormal structural brain findings in schizophrenia and has been used to infer brain shrinkage. However, whether ventricular enlargement is related to local overlying cortex and/or adjacent subcortical structures or whether it is related to brain volume change globally has not been assessed. We systematically assessed interrelations of ventricular volumes with gray and white matter volumes of 40 Brodmann areas (BAs), the thalamus and its medial dorsal nucleus and pulvinar, the internal capsule, caudate and putamen. We acquired structural MRI ( patients with schizophrenia (n = 64) and healthy controls (n = 56)) and diffusion tensor fractional anisotropy (FA) (untreated schizophrenia n = 19, controls n = 32). Volumes were assessed by manual tracing of central structures and a semi-automated parcellation of BAs. Patients with schizophrenia had increased ventricular size associated with decreased cortical gray matter volumes widely across the brain; a similar but less pronounced pattern was seen in normal controls; local correlations (e.g. temporal horn with temporal lobe volume) were not appreciably higher than non-local correlations (e.g. temporal horn with prefrontal volume). White matter regions adjacent to the ventricles similarly did not reveal strong regional relationships. FA and center of mass of the anterior limb of the internal capsule also appeared differentially influenced by ventricular volume but findings were similarly not regional. Taken together, these findings indicate that ventricular enlargement is globally interrelated with gray matter volume diminution but not directly correlated with volume loss in the immediately adjacent caudate, putamen, or internal capsule.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00406-011-0202-x) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Cerebral spinal fluid; Sulcal enlargement; Myelin; Fronto-thalamic connectivity
Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is often associated with symptoms of impulsive aggression, which pose a threat to patients themselves and to others. Preclinical studies show that orbital frontal cortex (OFC) plays a role in regulating impulsive aggression. Prior work has found OFC dysfunction in BPD.
We employed a task to provoke aggressive behavior, the Point Subtraction Aggression Paradigm (PSAP), which has never previously been used during functional brain imaging. Thirty-eight BPD patients with impulsive aggression (BPD-IED) and 36 age-matched healthy controls (HC) received 18FDG-PET on two occasions with a provocation and non-provocation version of the PSAP. For each participant, we measured mean relative glucose metabolism in cortical Brodmann areas (BAs) in each hemisphere; difference scores (Provoked–Non-provoked) were calculated. A whole brain exploratory analysis for the double difference of BPD-IED–HC for Provoked–Non-provoked was also conducted.
BPD-IED patients were significantly more aggressive than HC on the PSAP. BPD-IED patients also increased relative glucose metabolic rate (rGMR) in OFC and amygdala when provoked, while HC decreased rGMR in these areas. However, HC increased rGMR in anterior, medial, and dorsolateral prefrontal regions during provocation more than BPD-IED patients.
Patients responded aggressively and showed heightened rGMR in emotional brain areas, including amygdala and OFC in response to provocation, but not in more dorsal brain regions associated with cognitive control of aggression. In contrast, HC increased rGMR in dorsal regions of PFC during aggression provocation, brain regions involved in top-down cognitive control of aggression and, more broadly, of emotion.
brain imaging; Point Subtraction Aggression Paradigm; PSAP; emotion
Decreased callosal size and anisotropy have been described in schizophrenia patients but their longitudinal progression remains poorly understood.
We performed diffusion-tensor and structural magnetic resonance imaging at baseline and at follow-up four years later in 49 chronic schizophrenia patients and 16 healthy comparison subjects. Schizophrenia patients were subdivided into good-outcome (n=23) and poor-outcome (n=26) groups. Baseline-to-follow-up changes in size, shape, position and fractional anisotropy of the corpus callosum, divided into five sagittal sections and five rostro-caudal segments, were assessed.
At baseline scan and in comparison to healthy subjects, schizophrenia patients displayed 1) smaller callosal size, 2) lower average anisotropy in all sagittal sections except the midline, 3) more dorsal average coordinate position. During the four years after the baseline scan, patients with schizophrenia exhibited a more pronounced decline in absolute size of the corpus callosum than healthy comparison subjects. As compared with the good-outcome group, the corpus callosum in poor-outcome patients at baseline was of smaller size and lower average anisotropy, more elongated and posteriorly positioned. During the follow-up interval, poor-outcome patients displayed a more pronounced decline in size but less pronounced decline in anisotropy of the corpus callosum than patients with good outcomes.
Differences in callosal size between schizophrenia patients and healthy subjects seen at baseline continue to widen in the chronic phase of the illness, especially in patients with poor functional outcome. Baseline differences in callosal anisotropy among patients with different outcomes, however, diminish over time.
Corpus callosum; MRI; Kraepelinian schizophrenia; poor outcome; longitudinal course; follow-up
We have previously demonstrated that putaminal but not caudate volumes are associated with poor outcome in patients with chronic schizophrenia. Present longitudinal study was designed to investigate progressive differences in striatal volumes among chronic schizophrenia patients with different outcomes and healthy subjects.
Structural MRI scans were acquired at baseline and at follow-up four years later to evaluate volumetric changes in 26 poor-outcome schizophrenia patients, 23 good-outcome patients and 16 healthy subjects.
Schizophrenia patients with different outcomes entered the study with similar volumes of the caudate nucleus and putamen. The rate of decline in volumes of the putamen was greater in patients with poor outcome than in the good-outcome group, so that their putaminal but not caudate volumes were significantly smaller at the time of follow-up. There were no differences in baseline and follow-up volumes of the putamen or in the rate of their progression among patients with schizophrenia and healthy comparison subjects. The caudate volumes were lower in schizophrenia patients than healthy subjects at baseline and follow-up, but showed no differential patterns of progression between the groups.
Volumes of the putamen may represent a longitudinal marker of treatment responsiveness and outcome in patients with chronic schizophrenia.
Chronic schizophrenia; caudate nucleus; putamen; poor outcome; Kraepelinian; striatum
Superior temporal gyrus (STG/BA22) volume is reduced in schizophrenia and to a milder degree in schizotypal personality disorder (SPD), representing a less severe disorder in the schizophrenia-spectrum. SPD and Borderline personality disorder (BPD) are severe personality disorders characterized by social and cognitive dysfunction. However, while SPD is characterized by social withdrawal/anhedonia, BPD is marked by hyper-reactivity to interpersonal stimuli and hyper-emotionality. This is the first morphometric study to directly compare SPD and BPD patients in temporal volume.
We compared three age-gender- and education-matched groups: 27 unmedicated SPD individuals with no BPD traits, 52 unmedicated BPD individuals with no SPD traits, and 45 healthy controls. We examined gray matter volume of frontal and temporal lobe Brodmann areas (BAs), and dorsal/ventral amygdala from 3T magnetic resonance imaging.
In the STG, an auditory association area reported to be dysfunctional in SPD and BPD, the SPD patients had significantly smaller volume than healthy controls and BPD patients. No group differences were found between BPD patients and controls. Smaller BA22 volume was associated with greater symptom severity in SPD patients. Reduced STG volume may be an important endophenotype for schizophrenia-spectrum disorders. SPD is distinct from BPD in terms of STG volume abnormalities which may reflect different underlying pathophysiological mechanisms and could help discriminate between them.
Schizotypal personality disorder; Borderline personality disorder; Schizophrenia; MRI; Brodmann area 22; Auditory cortex
Findings of white matter pathology as indicated by diffusion tensor anisotropy values in schizophrenia are well established, but the differences in this measure between the onset of the disease and the chronic state are not well known. To investigate the differences between these states in the progression of the disease of schizophrenia we acquired 1.5 T diffusion tensor anisotropy images on 35 adult patients with schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder, 23 adolescents having their first psychotic episode, and age and sex matched controls (33 adults and 15 adolescents). Regions of interest in major cortical white matter tracts chosen as salient to the prefrontal executive deficit in schizophrenia were assessed using stereotaxic coordinates from the Talairach and Tournoux atlas. Regions of each tract along anterior-posterior and/or inferior-superior directions in both hemispheres were evaluated in multiway ANOVA. Tracts between the frontal lobe and other brain regions, but not temporal, occipital and interhemispheric tracts, showed a differential aging pattern in normals and patients indicating that the white matter pathology in these regions is not stable between the onset and the chronic state in schizophrenia. This suggests that tracts involved in the connectivity of the temporal lobe white matter deficits were already well in place in adolescent patients, while frontal lobe pathology continues to develop from adolescence to adulthood.
We acquired diffusion tensor images on 33 normal adults aged 22–64 and 15 adolescents aged 14–21. We assessed relative anisotropy in stereotaxically located regions of interest in the internal capsule, corpus callosum, anterior thalamic radiations, frontal anterior fasciculus, fronto-occipital fasciculus, temporal lobe white matter, cingulum bundle, frontal inferior longitudinal fasciculus, frontal superior longitudinal fasciculus, and optic radiations. All of these structures except the optic radiations, corpus callosum, and frontal inferior longitudinal fasciculus exhibited differences in anisotropy between adolescents and adults. Areas with anisotropy increasing with age included the anterior limb of the internal capsule, superior levels of the frontal superior longitudinal fasciculus and the inferior portion of the temporal white matter. Areas with anisotropy decreasing with age included the posterior limb of the internal capsule, anterior thalamic radiations, fronto-occipital fasciculus, anterior portion of the frontal anterior fasciculus, inferior portion of the frontal superior longitudinal fasciculus, cingulum bundle and superior portion of the temporal axis. Sex differences were found in the majority of areas but were most marked in the cingulum bundle and internal capsule. These results suggest continuing white matter development between adolescence and adulthood.
Age; White matter; Magnetic resonance imaging
White matter abnormalities have been detected using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) in a variety of locations in the brains of patients with schizophrenia. Studies that included first-episode patients report less severe or no abnormalities but more pronounced deficits in chronic patients. Here we investigated these abnormalities in a very large group of schizophrenia that had both large ranges in age and in duration of illness. A highly reproducible DTI-tractography technique was used to quantify the fractional anisotropy of the genu and splenium of the corpus callosum as well as the bilateral pyramidal tracts. We found a decline in fractional anisotropy that correlated with the duration of illness in the genu and splenium of the corpus callosum but not in the pyramidal tracts. The findings suggest that there are white matter tract-specific degenerative mechanisms that may be present at the point of illness onset and that progress throughout the illness.
Diffusion Tensor Imaging; Schizophrenia; Fiber Tracking
Prepulse inhibition (PPI) refers to a reduction in the amplitude of the startle eye-blink reflex to a strong sensory stimulus, the pulse, when it is preceded shortly by a weak stimulus, the prepulse. PPI is a measure of sensorimotor gating which serves to prevent the interruption of early attentional processing and it is impaired in schizophrenia-spectrum patients. In healthy individuals, PPI is more robust when attending to than ignoring a prepulse. Animal and human work demonstrate frontal-striatal-thalamic (FST) circuitry modulates PPI. This study used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to investigate FST-circuitry during an attention-to-prepulse paradigm in 26 unmedicated schizophrenia-spectrum patients (13 schizotypal personality disorder (SPD), 13 schizophrenia) and 13 healthy controls. During 3T-fMRI acquisition and separately measured psychophysiological assessment of PPI, participants heard an intermixed series of high- and low-pitched tones serving as prepulses to an acoustic-startle stimulus. Event-related BOLD-response amplitude curves in FST regions traced on co-registered anatomical MRI were examined. Controls showed greater activation during attended than ignored PPI conditions in all FST regions--dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (Brodmann areas 46,9), striatum (caudate, putamen), and the thalamic mediodorsal nucleus (MDN). In contrast, schizophrenia patients failed to show differential BOLD responses in FST-circuitry during attended and ignored prepulses, whereas SPD patients showed greater-than-normal activation during ignored prepulses. Among the three diagnostic groups, lower left caudate BOLD activation during the attended PPI condition was associated with more deficient sensorimotor gating as measured by PPI. Schizophrenia-spectrum patients exhibit inefficient utilization of FST-circuitry during attentional modulation of PPI. Schizophrenia patients have reduced recruitment of FST-circuitry during task-relevant stimuli, whereas SPD patients allocate excessive resources during task-irrelevant stimuli. Dysfunctional FST activation, particularly in the caudate may underlie PPI abnormalities in schizophrenia-spectrum patients.
dorsolateral prefrontal cortex; caudate nucleus; putamen; thalamus; mediodorsal nucleus; fMRI; schizophrenia; schizotypal personality disorder; startle; prepulse inhibition; attention; sensorimotor gating
In spite of significant advances in treatment of patients with schizophrenia and continued efforts towards their deinstitutionalization, a considerable group of patients remain chronically hospitalized or otherwise dependent on others for basic necessities of life. It has been proposed that these patients belong to a distinct etiopathological subgroup, termed Kraepelinian, whose course of illness may be progressive and resistant to treatment. Indeed, longitudinal studies appear to show that elderly Kraepelinian patients follow a course of rapid cognitive and functional deterioration, commensurate with a dementing process, and that their poor functional status is closely correlated with the cognitive deterioration. Recent neuroimaging studies described a pattern of posteriorization of grey and white matter deficits with poor outcome in schizophrenia, and produced a constellation of findings implicating primary processing of visual and auditory information as central to the impaired functional status in this patient group. These studies are summarized in detail in this review and future directions for neuroimaging assessment of very poor outcome patients with schizophrenia are suggested.
Administration of doxapram hydrochloride, a respiratory stimulant, is experienced by panic disorder patients to be similar to panic attacks but has reduced emotional effect in normal volunteers thus providing a laboratory model of panic for functional imaging. Six panic patients and seven normal control subjects underwent positron emission tomography with 18F-deoxyglucose imaging after a single-blinded administration of either doxapram or a placebo saline solution. Saline and doxapram were administered on separate days in counterbalanced order. Patients showed a greater heart rate increase on doxapram from saline than controls, indicating differential response. On the saline placebo day, patients had greater prefrontal relative activity than controls. In response to doxapram, patients tended to decrease prefrontal activity more than controls, and increased cingulate gyrus and amygdala activity more than controls. This suggests that panic disorder patients activate frontal inhibitory centers less than controls which may lower the threshold for panic.
doxapram; PET; panic; prefrontal cortex; amygdala; neuroimaging
Magnetic resonance (MR) imaging studies have revealed fronto-temporal cortical gray matter volume reductions in schizophrenia. However, whether age- and sex-matched unmedicated schizotypal personality disorder (SPD) patients share some or all of the structural brain-imaging characteristics of schizophrenia patients has not been studied. We examined cortical gray/white matter volumes in a large sample of unmedicated schizophrenia-spectrum patients (n=79 SPD, n=57 schizophrenia) and 148 healthy controls. MR images were reoriented to standard position parallel to the anterior-posterior commissure line, segmented into gray and white matter tissue types, and assigned to Brodmann areas (BAs) using a postmortem-histological atlas. Group differences in regional volume of gray and white matter in the BAs was examined with MANOVA. Schizophrenia patients had reduced gray matter volume widely across the cortex but more marked in frontal and temporal lobes. SPD patients had reductions in the same regions but only about half that observed in schizophrenia and sparing in key regions including BA10. In schizophrenia, greater fronto-temporal volume loss was associated with greater negative symptom severity and in SPD, greater interpersonal and cognitive impairment. Overall, our findings suggest that increased prefrontal volume in BA10 and sparing of volume loss in temporal cortex (BAs 22 and 20) may be a protective factor in SPD which reduces vulnerability to psychosis.
MRI; schizophrenia; schizotypal personality disorder; frontal lobe volume; temporal lobe volume; cingulate gyrus; negative symptoms; gray matter volume; white matter volume
Previous studies have reported continued focal gray matter loss after the clinical onset of schizophrenia. Longitudinal assessments in chronic illness, of white matter in particular, have been less conclusive.
We used diffusion-tensor and structural magnetic resonance imaging in 16 healthy subjects and 49 chronic schizophrenia patients, subdivided into good-outcome (n=23) and poor-outcome (n=26) groups, scanned twice 4 years apart. Fractional anisotropy, gray matter and white matter volumes were parcellated into the Brodmann’s areas and entered into multiway ANCOVAs.
At baseline, schizophrenia patients had 1) lower anisotropy in frontoparietal white matter, 2) larger posterior frontal white matter volumes, and 3) smaller frontal, temporal, and parietal gray matter volumes. On follow-up, healthy subjects showed a more pronounced 1) decline in anisotropy, 2) expansion of regional white matter volumes, and 3) reduction in regional gray matter volumes than schizophrenia patients. Good-outcome patients showed a more pronounced decline in white matter anisotropy and a less pronounced increase in white matter volumes than poor-outcome patients. Poor-outcome patients displayed a greater gray matter loss throughout the brain than good-outcome patients.
In the chronic phase of the illness, longitudinal changes in both gray and white matter are in the direction of an effacement of between-group differences among schizophrenia patients and healthy subjects. Similarly, preexisting white matter differences between good-outcome and poor-outcome patients diminish over time. In contrast, gray matter volumes in poor-outcome patients continue to decline more rapidly than in patients with good outcome. These patterns are consistent with earlier onset of aging-associated changes in schizophrenia.
Kraepelinian schizophrenia; poor outcome; anisotropy; white matter; illness progression.
Preliminary data suggest an association of posterior cortical gray matter reduction with poor outcome in schizophrenia. We made a systematic MRI assessment of regional gray and white matter volumes, parcellated into 40 Brodmann’s areas, in 104 patients with schizophrenia (51 with good outcomes, 53 with poor outcomes) and 41 normal comparison subjects, and investigated correlations of regional morphometry with outcome and severity of the illness. Schizophrenia patients displayed differential reductions in frontal and to a lesser degree temporal gray matter volumes in both hemispheres, most pronounced in the frontal pole and lateral temporal cortex. White matter volumes in schizophrenia patients were bilaterally increased, primarily in the frontal, parietal, and isolated temporal regions, with volume reductions confined to anterior cingulate gyrus. In patients with schizophrenia as a group, higher illness severity was associated with reduced temporal gray matter volumes and expanded frontal white matter volumes in both hemispheres. In comparison to good-outcome group, patients with poor outcomes had lower temporal, occipital, and to a lesser degree parietal gray matter volumes in both hemispheres and temporal, parietal, occipital, and posterior cingulate white matter volumes in the right hemisphere. While gray matter deficits in the granular cortex were observed in all schizophrenia patients, agranular cortical deficits in the left hemisphere were peculiar to patients with poor outcomes. These results provide support for frontotemporal gray matter reduction and frontoparietal white matter expansion in schizophrenia. Poor outcome is associated with more posterior distribution (posteriorization) of both gray and white matter changes, and with preferential impairment in the unimodal visual and paralimbic cortical regions.
Schizophrenia; Poor outcome; Gray matter; White matter; Illness severity; MRI
Evidence suggests that white matter integrity may play an underlying pathophysiological role in schizophrenia. N-acetylaspartate (NAA), as measured by Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (MRS), is a neuronal marker and is decreased in white matter lesions and regions of axonal loss. It has also been found to be reduced in the prefrontal and temporal regions in patients with schizophrenia. Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) allows one to measure the orientations of axonal tracts as well as the coherence of axonal bundles. DTI is thus sensitive to demyelination and other structural abnormalities. DTI has also shown abnormalities in these regions.
MRS and DTI were obtained on 42 healthy subjects and 40 subjects with schizophrenia. The data was analyzed using regions of interests in the Dorso-Lateral Prefrontal white matter, Medial Temporal white matter and Occipital white matter using both imaging modalities.
NAA was significantly reduced in the patient population in the Medial Temporal regions. DTI anisotropy indices were also reduced in the same Medial Temporal regions. NAA and DTI-anisotropy indices were also correlated in the left medial temporal region.
Our results implicate defects in the medial temporal white matter in patients with schizophrenia. Moreover, MRS and DTI are complementary modalities for the study of white matter disruptions in patients with schizophrenia.
We acquired diffusion tensor and structural MRI images on 103 patients with schizophrenia and 41 age-matched normal controls. The vector data was used to trace tracts from a region of interest in the anterior limb of the internal capsule to the prefrontal cortex. Patients with schizophrenia had tract paths that were significantly shorter in length from the center of internal capsule to prefrontal white matter. These tracts, the anterior thalamic radiations, are important in frontal-striatal-thalamic pathways. These results are consistent with findings of smaller size of the anterior limb of the internal capsule in patients with schizophrenia, diffusion tensor anisotropy decreases in frontal white matter in schizophrenia and hypothesized disruption of the frontal-striatal-thalamic pathway system.
Coronary atherosclerosis and its thrombotic complications are the major cause of mortality and morbidity throughout the industrialized world. Thrombosis on disrupted atherosclerotic plaques plays a key role in the onset of acute coronary syndromes. Macrophages density is one of the most critical compositions of plaque in both plaque vulnerability and thrombogenicity upon rupture. It has been shown that macrophages have a high uptake of 18F-FDG (FDG). We studied the correlation of FDG uptake with histopathological macrophage accumulation in atherosclerotic plaques in a rabbit model.
Atherosclerosis was induced in rabbits (n = 6) by a combination of atherogenic diet and balloon denudation of the aorta. PET imaging was performed at baseline and 2 months after atherogenic diet and coregistered with magnetic resonance (MR) imaging. Normal (n = 3) rabbits served as controls. FDG uptake by the thoracic aorta was expressed as concentration (μCi/ml) and the ratio of aortic uptake-to-blood radioactivity. FDG uptake and RAM-11 antibody positive areas were analyzed in descending aorta.
Atherosclerotic aortas showed significantly higher uptake of FDG than normal aortas. The correlation of aortic FDG uptake with macrophage areas assessed by histopathology was statistically significant although it was not high (r = 0.48, p < 0.0001). When uptake was expressed as the ratio of aortic uptake-to-blood activity, it correlated better (r = 0.80, p < 0.0001) with the macrophage areas, due to the correction for residual blood FDG activity.
PET FDG activity correlated with macrophage content within aortic atherosclerosis. This imaging approach might serve as a useful non-invasive imaging technique and potentially permit monitoring of relative changes in inflammation within the atherosclerotic lesion.