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Hum Brain Mapp. 2008 Apr;29(4):478-89.

Surface-based morphometry of the anterior cingulate cortex in first episode schizophrenia.

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Melbourne Neuropsychiatry Centre, Department of Psychiatry, The University of Melbourne and Melbourne Health, Australia.


The anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) appears to be critically involved in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia, but past attempts at characterizing pathological changes in the region using magnetic resonance imaging have been restricted by a limited appreciation of its functional and anatomical diversity and a reliance on relatively coarse metrics (e.g., volume) to index anatomical change. In this study, we applied a novel, surface-based protocol to T1-weighted scans acquired from 40 first episode schizophrenia patients and 40 healthy controls individually matched for age, sex, and morphology of the paracingulate sulcus, a major anatomical variation that has been shown to affect morphometric estimates in the region. The surface-based approach enabled calculation of regional grey matter volume, surface area and curvature, cortical thickness, and depth of the cingulate sulcus, with sub-millimeter precision. Relative to controls, schizophrenia patients displayed a bilateral reduction in thickness of paralimbic regions of the ACC, along with a concomitant increase in surface area of both the limbic and paralimbic ACC. No differences were identified for regional grey matter volume, surface curvature, or CS depth. These findings illustrate the advantages of moving beyond traditional volume-based approaches when investigating cortical morphometry, and indicate that the early stages of schizophrenia are associated with a specific pattern of ACC abnormalities that cannot be attributed to variations in sulcal and gyral morphology.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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