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Am J Psychiatry. 1997 May;154(5):661-7.

Planum temporale asymmetry reversal in schizophrenia: replication and relationship to gray matter abnormalities.

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Division of Psychiatric Neuro-Imaging, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21287-7362, USA.



The planum temporale, the posterior superior surface of the superior temporal gyrus, is a highly lateralized brain structure involved with language. In schizophrenic patients the authors previously found consistent reversal of the normal left-larger-than-right asymmetry of planum temporale surface area. The original subjects plus new patients and comparison subjects participated in this effort to replicate and extend the prior study.


High-resolution magnetic resonance imaging of 28 schizophrenic patients and 32 group-matched normal subjects was performed. The authors measured planum temporale surface area, gray matter volume underlying the planum temporale, and gray matter thickness. Asymmetry indices for areas and volumes were calculated.


Overall gray matter and total brain volume were not significantly smaller in the patients than in the comparison subjects. As previously reported, there was striking reversal of the normal asymmetry for planum temporale surface area in the male and female schizophrenic subjects. Bilaterally, gray matter volume beneath the planum temporale was smaller in the schizophrenic patients, and the gray matter thickness of the right planum temporale was only 50% of the comparison value. Volume of planum temporale gray matter did not show significant asymmetry in either group.


This study extends the finding of reversed planum temporale surface area asymmetry in schizophrenic patients and clarifies its relationship to underlying gray matter volume. Although right planum temporale surface area is larger than normal in schizophrenia, gray matter volume is less than the comparison value; thus, gray matter thickness is substantially less than normal.

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