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Psychiatry Res. 2007 Feb 28;154(2):133-45. Epub 2007 Feb 5.

Progressive changes of white matter integrity in schizophrenia revealed by diffusion tensor imaging.

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  • 1Department of Radiology, National Center Hospital for Mental, Nervous, and Muscular Disorders, National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry, 4-1-1 Ogawa Higashi, Kodaira City, Tokyo, 187-8551, Japan.


Recent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) have suggested reduced fractional anisotropy (FA) in the white matter (WM) of the brain in patients with schizophrenia. We tried to examine whether such reduction in FA exists and whether such changes in FA progress in an age-dependent manner in a Japanese sample of chronic schizophrenia. FA values were compared between 42 patients with chronic schizophrenia and 42 controls matched for age and gender, by using DTI with voxel-by-voxel and region-of-interest analyses. Correlations of FA values with age and duration of illness were examined. Patients with schizophrenia showed lower FA values, compared to controls, in the widespread WM areas including the uncinate fasciculi and cingulum bundles. A significant group-by-age interaction was found for FA in the WM, i.e., age-related reduction of FA was more pronounced in schizophrenics than in controls. A significant negative correlation between FA and duration of illness was also found in the WM. Our data confirmed decreased FA in schizophrenics, compared to controls in the widespread WM areas. Such decreased FA values in schizophrenia might be attributable, at least in part, to progressive changes after the onset of the illness.

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