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Biol Psychiatry. 2003 Aug 15;54(4):427-36.

Decreased volume and increased asymmetry of the anterior limb of the internal capsule in patients with schizophrenia.

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Department of Neuropsychiatry, Toyama Medical and Pharmaceutical University, Toyama, Japan.



The anterior limb of the internal capsule (ALIC) contains the anterior thalamic peduncle connecting the medial and anterior thalamic nuclei with the prefrontal cortex and the cingulate gyrus. The purpose of this study was to detect the volumetric changes in the ALIC in view of the putative abnormal frontothalamic connectivity in schizophrenia.


High-resolution, three-dimensional magnetic resonance imaging was acquired from 53 schizophrenia patients and 48 age- and gender-matched control subjects. Volumetric analysis was performed using consecutive 1-mm-thick coronal slices rostral to the anterior commissure, on the ALIC, caudate nucleus, and lentiform nucleus. White matter concentration over the whole brain was compared using the voxel-based morphometry (VBM) with Statistical Parametric Mapping 99.


The patients had significantly decreased volumes in the bilateral ALIC and showed significantly increased right-greater-than-left asymmetry of the ALIC; VBM revealed a reduction in white matter concentration of the bilateral internal capsule in patients. No volumetric difference was found in the rostral part of the caudate and lentiform nucleus between groups.


Decreased volume found in the ALIC supports the hypothesis of abnormal frontothalamic connectivity in schizophrenia. Increased asymmetry of the internal capsule seems consistent with the notion of predominantly left-side pathology of schizophrenia.

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