Send to

Choose Destination
Schizophr Res. 2000 Oct 27;45(3):235-44.

Saccadic eye movement abnormalities in relatives of patients with schizophrenia.

Author information

Maryland Psychiatric Research Center, PO Box 21247, Baltimore, MD 21228, USA.


Recent studies note abnormalities in saccadic eye movements of relatives of patients with schizophrenia. The current study examined which aspects of the saccadic system are affected, whether these saccadic abnormalities are associated with schizophrenia spectrum personality symptoms (SSP), and whether such an association is dependent on a family history of schizophrenia. Furthermore, the study examined what proportion of relatives have the saccadic abnormality(ies). Fifty-five first-degree relatives with no DSM-III-R Axis I diagnosis participated in the study. Twenty-one of these relatives experienced SSP symptoms and 34 had no Axis II diagnosis. Sixty-two subjects with no Axis I diagnosis were recruited from the community. Twenty-five experienced SSP symptoms and 37 had no Axis II diagnosis. Prosaccades (saccades toward the target) and antisaccades (saccades made in the opposite direction of the target jump) were examined. Relatives, particularly those with SSP, had difficulties with the antisaccade task as suggested by higher error rates and longer antisaccade latency. Prosaccades were not different in relatives compared to the community subjects, although the effects of field were different in the two groups on some measures. The antisaccade latency was 'abnormal' in only a small proportion (1.6%) of community subjects compared to 14.9% of all relatives (35.3% of SSP relatives and 3.3% of non-SSP relatives). Relatives of patients with schizophrenia have deficits in aspects of the saccadic system involved in generating internally driven saccades and inhibition of unwanted saccades. These deficits implicate frontal ocular motor neuronal circuitry involving frontal cortical and basal ganglia areas. These deficits are associated with SSP symptoms, but not in the absence of a blood relationship to schizophrenia. The relatively high prevalence rate of the abnormality in at-risk subjects may have relevance for use of these measures in linkage analysis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center