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Schizophr Res. 2020 Feb 17. pii: S0920-9964(20)30081-5. doi: 10.1016/j.schres.2020.02.005. [Epub ahead of print]

Developmental trajectories of subcortical structures in relation to dimensional schizotypy expression along adolescence.

Author information

1
Developmental Clinical Psychology Research Unit, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, University of Geneva, Switzerland; Developmental Neuroimaging and Psychopathology Laboratory, Department of Psychiatry, University of Geneva, Switzerland. Electronic address: Melodie.Derome@unige.ch.
2
Developmental Neuroimaging and Psychopathology Laboratory, Department of Psychiatry, University of Geneva, Switzerland; Medical Image Processing Lab, Institute of Bioengineering, EPFL, Lausanne, Switzerland; Department of Radiology and Medical Informatics, University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland. Electronic address: Daniela.Zoller@unige.ch.
3
Department of Psychosis Studies, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King's College London, UK; Department of Neuroimaging, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King's College London, UK. Electronic address: gemma.modinos@kcl.ac.uk.
4
Developmental Neuroimaging and Psychopathology Laboratory, Department of Psychiatry, University of Geneva, Switzerland. Electronic address: Marie.Schaer@unige.ch.
5
Developmental Neuroimaging and Psychopathology Laboratory, Department of Psychiatry, University of Geneva, Switzerland; Department of Genetic Medicine and Development, School of Medicine, University of Geneva, Switzerland. Electronic address: Stephan.Eliez@unige.ch.
6
Developmental Clinical Psychology Research Unit, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, University of Geneva, Switzerland; Developmental Neuroimaging and Psychopathology Laboratory, Department of Psychiatry, University of Geneva, Switzerland; Research Department of Clinical, Educational & Health Psychology, University College London, United Kingdom. Electronic address: martin.debbane@unige.ch.

Abstract

Morphological abnormalities of subcortical structures have been consistently reported along the schizophrenia clinical spectrum, and they may play an important role in the pathophysiology of psychosis. However, the question arises whether these subcortical features are consequences of medication and illness chronicity, or if they contribute to the vulnerability to develop schizophrenia spectrum disorders. If some of the subcortical abnormalities could be evidenced in community adolescents expressing higher schizotypal traits (psychometric schizotypy), they could potentially shed light on vulnerability markers. To date, very few studies have examined the link between psychometric schizotypy and volumes of subcortical regions, and none of them have used a longitudinal design. This study sets out to investigate developmental trajectories of subcortical volumes in 110 community adolescents (12 to 20 years old), for whom MRI-scans were acquired over a period of 5 years, reaching a total of 297 scans. Analyses were conducted using Freesurfer, and schizotypal traits were measured with the Schizotypal Personality Questionnaire (SPQ). Using mixed model regression analyses following a region-of-interest approach, we observed differential linear developmental trajectories in four subcortical structures when comparing higher versus lower scorers on the disorganized schizotypy dimension (bilateral hippocampus, left-lateral ventricle and left-pallidum) and the negative schizotypy dimension (bilateral pallidum, and right-thalamus). All results survived a threshold of p < .05 (FDR-corrected) while covarying for the effect of other psychological problems (externalized and internalized psychopathology). These results indicate that expression of higher levels of negative and disorganized schizotypy during adolescence was associated with neural markers linking schizotypy personality features to schizophrenia spectrum disorders.

KEYWORDS:

Adolescence; Developmental trajectories; Schizophrenia; Schizotypy; Structural MRI

Conflict of interest statement

Declaration of competing interest The authors have declared that there are no conflicts of interest in relation to the subject of this study.

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