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Biol Psychiatry. 2004 Apr 15;55(8):859-67.

Abnormal gyral complexity in first-episode schizophrenia.

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Laboratory of Neuro-Imaging, Geffen School of Medicine at University of California-Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1769, USA.



Abnormalities in the patterns and frequency of cortical folding might help identify temporal and regionally specific disturbances in normal neurodevelopmental processes that occur in association with schizophrenia. Few studies, however, have investigated gyral complexity in schizophrenia.


High-resolution magnetic resonance images were used to examine differences in gyral complexity, measured three-dimensionally in five separate hemispheric regions covering the entire cortical surface, in patients with first-episode schizophrenia (n = 50) compared with demographically matched healthy comparison subjects (n = 50). The modulating effects of gender and hemisphere were also examined.


Significant increases in cortical folding were observed in the right superior frontal cortex in male schizophrenic patients compared with male control subjects, but not between female diagnostic groups. Significant main effects of hemisphere were found in frontal, parietal, and occipital regions in directions complementary to cerebral torques.


Results support previous findings of right frontal hypergyria in male schizophrenic patients and suggest that these abnormalities predate illness onset and are of neurodevelopmental origin. Therefore, in schizophrenia, sexually dimorphic developmental processes and differences in hemispheric connectivity, which have been shown to influence the organization and/or frequency of cortical folding, seem to be disturbed during gyral formation in utero.

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