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Schizophr Res. 2009 Mar;108(1-3):104-13. doi: 10.1016/j.schres.2008.12.011. Epub 2009 Jan 20.

Mapping grey matter reductions in schizophrenia: an anatomical likelihood estimation analysis of voxel-based morphometry studies.

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


Voxel-based morphometry (VBM) is a popular tool for mapping neuroanatomical changes in schizophrenia patients. Several recent meta-analyses have identified the brain regions in which patients most consistently show grey matter reductions, although they have not examined whether such changes reflect differences in grey matter concentration (GMC) or grey matter volume (GMV). These measures assess different aspects of grey matter integrity, and may therefore reflect different pathological processes. In this study, we used the Anatomical Likelihood Estimation procedure to analyse significant differences reported in 37 VBM studies of schizophrenia patients, incorporating data from 1646 patients and 1690 controls, and compared the findings of studies using either GMC or GMV to index grey matter differences. Analysis of all studies combined indicated that grey matter reductions in a network of frontal, temporal, thalamic and striatal regions are among the most frequently reported in literature. GMC reductions were generally larger and more consistent than GMV reductions, and were more frequent in the insula, medial prefrontal, medial temporal and striatal regions. GMV reductions were more frequent in dorso-medial frontal cortex, and lateral and orbital frontal areas. These findings support the primacy of frontal, limbic, and subcortical dysfunction in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia, and suggest that the grey matter changes observed with MRI may not necessarily result from a unitary pathological process.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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