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Schizophr Bull. 2020 Mar 5. pii: sbaa020. doi: 10.1093/schbul/sbaa020. [Epub ahead of print]

Developmental Trajectories of Cortical Thickness in Relation to Schizotypy During Adolescence.

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Developmental Clinical Psychology Research Unit, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland.
Developmental Neuroimaging and Psychopathology Laboratory, Department of Psychiatry, University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland.
Medical Image Processing Lab, Institute of Bioengineering, EPFL, Lausanne, Switzerland.
Department of Radiology and Medical Informatics, University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland.
Department of Genetic Medicine and Development, School of Medicine, University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland.
Research Department of Clinical, Educational & Health Psychology, University College London, London, UK.


Investigating potential gray matter differences in adolescents presenting higher levels of schizotypy personality traits could bring further insights into the development of schizophrenia spectrum disorders. Research has yet to examine the morphological correlates of schizotypy features during adolescence prospectively, and no information is available on the developmental trajectories from adolescence to adulthood. We employed mixed model regression analysis to investigate developmental trajectories of cortical thickness (CT) in relation to schizotypy dimensions in a cohort of 109 adolescents from the general population for whom MRI-scans were acquired over a 5-year period, culminating in a total of 271 scans. Structural data were processed with FreeSurfer software, statistical analyses were conducted using mixed regression models following a ROI-based approach, and schizotypy was assessed with the Schizotypal Personality Questionnaire (SPQ). Accelerated thinning was observed in the posterior cingulate cortex in relation to high levels of positive schizotypy, whereas high levels of disorganized schizotypy were associated with a similar trajectory pattern in the anterior cingulate cortex. The developmental course of CT in the prefrontal, occipital, and cingulate cortices differed between adolescents expressing higher vs lower levels of negative schizotypy. Participants reporting high scores on all schizotypy dimensions were associated with differential trajectories of CT in posterior cingulate cortex and occipital cortex. Consistently with prospective developmental studies of clinical risk conversion, the negative schizotypy dimension appears to constitute the most informative dimension for psychosis-related psychopathology, as its cerebral correlates in adolescents most closely overlap with results found in clinical high risk for psychosis studies.


longitudinal analysis; schizophrenia; structural MRI


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