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Schizophr Res. 2008 Jul;102(1-3):141-9. doi: 10.1016/j.schres.2008.03.022. Epub 2008 Jun 2.

White matter abnormalities in subjects at ultra high-risk for schizophrenia and first-episode schizophrenic patients.

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Early Recognition and Therapy Centre for beginning psychosis Bochum (BoFit), Department of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Psychosomatic Medicine, Ruhr-University of Bochum, 44791 Bochum, Germany.


Schizophrenia is associated with neuroanatomical abnormalities. Gray matter decrease seems to predate first schizophrenic episode. Whether white matter abnormalities predate the onset of psychotic symptoms is unclear. We investigated this issue using voxel-based morphometry (VBM) of structural magnetic resonance images to examine individuals with prodromal symptoms who were at ultra high-risk (UHR) of developing schizophrenia and compared them to first-episode schizophrenic patients and healthy controls. White matter volume maps from high-resolution magnetic resonance T1 weighted whole brain images were analyzed in a cross-sectional study using SPM2 in 30 UHR patients, 23 first-episode schizophrenic patients and 29 healthy controls. UHR patients showed significant lower white matter volume in the right superior temporal lobe compared to healthy controls. First-episode patients with schizophrenia showed widespread smaller white matter volume bilaterally compared to UHR patients. This study provides first evidence for smaller white matter volume in the right temporal lobe of UHR patients, one of the key structures in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia. Furthermore, white matter abnormalities seem to progress after transition into schizophrenia.

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