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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2005 Mar 29;102(13):4872-7. Epub 2005 Mar 16.

Morphometric analysis of lateral ventricles in schizophrenia and healthy controls regarding genetic and disease-specific factors.

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Department of Computer Science, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3175, USA.


The structural variability of lateral ventricles is poorly understood notwithstanding that enlarged size has been identified as an unspecific marker for psychiatric illness, including schizophrenia. This paper explores the effects of heritability and genetic risk for schizophrenia reflected in ventricular size and structure. We examined ventricular size and shape in the MRI studies of monozygotic (MZ) twin pairs discordant for schizophrenia (DS), healthy MZ twin pairs, healthy dizygotic twin pairs, and healthy nonrelated subject pairs. Heritability and effect due to disease were analyzed in two tests. First, heritability was examined by ventricle similarity between pairs of co-twins. Results show that co-twin ventricle shape similarity decreases with decreasing genetic identity, an effect not seen in the volume analysis. Co-twin shape similarity of healthy MZ twins did not differ from DS MZ twins. Second, the disease effect was examined through the ventricular differences of DS subjects to a template shape representing healthy subjects. Affected DS twins showed shape differences from healthy subjects on the left and right sides. Interestingly, unaffected DS twins also showed significant shape differences from healthy subjects for both sides. Volume comparisons did not show differences between these groups. Locality of shape difference suggests that the ventricular shape of the anterior and posterior regions is under genetic influence in both healthy controls and schizophrenia patients. Affected and unaffected groups demonstrate main shape differences, compared with healthy controls, only in the posterior region. Our results suggest that genetics have a stronger influence on the shape of lateral ventricles than do the disease-related changes in schizophrenia.

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