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Schizophr Res. 2007 Jan;89(1-3):59-71. Epub 2006 Oct 30.

Structural analysis of the basal ganglia in schizophrenia.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Washington University Medical School, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA.


Increases in the total volume of basal ganglia structures have been reported in schizophrenia. However, patterns of basal ganglia shape change, which can reveal localized changes in substructure volumes, have not been investigated. In this study, the total volume and shape of several basal ganglia structures were compared in subjects with and without schizophrenia. T(1)-weighted magnetic resonance scans were collected in 54 schizophrenia and 70 comparison subjects. High-dimensional (large-deformation) brain mapping was used to assess the shape and volume of several basal ganglia structures. The relationships of shape and volume measures with psychopathology, cognition and motor function were also assessed. Left and right volumes of the caudate and putamen, as well as the right globus pallidus volume, were significantly increased in subjects with schizophrenia as compared to comparison subjects after total brain volume was included as a covariate. Significant differences in shape accompanied these volume changes in the caudate, putamen and globus pallidus, after their total volumes were included as covariates. There were few significant correlations between volume or shape measures and either cognitive function or clinical symptoms, other than a positive correlation between an attention/vigilance cognitive dimension and the volume of the caudate and putamen, and a negative correlation between nucleus accumbens volume and delusions. In conclusion, basal ganglia volumes relative to total brain volume were larger in schizophrenia subjects than healthy comparison subjects. Specific patterns of shape change accompanied these volume differences.

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