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Psychiatry Res. 2011 Jul 30;193(1):46-52. doi: 10.1016/j.pscychresns.2010.12.010. Epub 2011 May 19.

Cerebellar and lobar blood flow in schizophrenia: a perfusion weighted imaging study.

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Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, Section of Psychiatry and Clinical Psychology, Inter-University Centre for Behavioral Neurosciences, University of Verona, Verona, Italy.


It is still not clear whether brain hemodynamics plays a role in the functional and structural alterations in schizophrenia, since prior imaging studies showed conflicting findings. In this study we non-invasively explored cerebral and cerebellar lobe perfusion in the largest population of participants with schizophrenia thus far studied with perfusion-weighted imaging (PWI). Forty-seven participants affected by schizophrenia and 29 normal controls were recruited. PWI images were acquired following the intravenous injection of a paramagnetic contrast agent. Regional cerebral blood volume (CBV), blood flow (rCBF), and mean transit time (MTT) were obtained with the block-Circulant Singular Value Decomposition (cSVD) for frontal, temporal, parietal, occipital, and cerebellar lobes, bilaterally. Perfusion parameters were separately obtained for both gray and white matter in each lobe. Subjects with schizophrenia showed no significant differences in perfusion parameters when compared with controls. Interestingly, inverse correlations between age at onset and occipital, frontal and cerebellar MTT and between length of illness and frontal CBV were found. Preserved cerebral and cerebellar perfusion in our chronic population may in part be due to the effects of antipsychotic treatment which may have normalized blood volume and flow. Hypoperfusion in relation to chronicity, particularly in the frontal lobe, has been observed in accordance with earlier studies using positron emission tomography.

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