Original Article| Volume 63, ISSUE 5, P519-523, March 01, 2008

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A Diffusion Tensor Imaging Study of White Matter in Early-Onset Schizophrenia

  • Marinos Kyriakopoulos
    Section of Neurobiology of Psychosis, Centre for Neuroimaging Sciences, King’s College London, Institute of Psychiatry, London, United Kingdom
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  • Nora S. Vyas
    Section of Neurobiology of Psychosis, Centre for Neuroimaging Sciences, King’s College London, Institute of Psychiatry, London, United Kingdom
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  • Gareth J. Barker
    Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Centre for Neuroimaging Sciences, King’s College London, Institute of Psychiatry, London, United Kingdom.
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  • Xavier A. Chitnis
    Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Centre for Neuroimaging Sciences, King’s College London, Institute of Psychiatry, London, United Kingdom.
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  • Sophia Frangou
    Address reprint requests to Sophia Frangou, M.D., M.R.C.Psych., Ph.D., Head, Section of Neurobiology of Psychosis, Institute of Psychiatry, P066, De Crespigny Park, London SE5 8AF, UK
    Section of Neurobiology of Psychosis, Centre for Neuroimaging Sciences, King’s College London, Institute of Psychiatry, London, United Kingdom
    Search for articles by this author


      Voxel-based analysis of diffusion tensor magnetic resonance imaging (DTI) data was used to examine white matter integrity in adolescents with early-onset schizophrenia (EOS), defined as schizophrenia beginning before the 18th birthday.


      Nineteen patients with EOS, aged 13 to 19, were compared with 20 healthy volunteers matched for age, gender, and parental socioeconomic status. Diffusion tensor magnetic resonance imaging data were acquired on a GE Signa NVi 1.5 Tesla system (General Electric, Milwaukee, Wisconsin). Maps of fractional anisotropy (FA) were registered into standard space, and group differences were examined using a nonparametric statistical approach.


      In comparison with healthy participants, EOS patients had significantly lower FA in the white matter of the parietal association cortex bilaterally and in the left middle cerebellar penduncle. No areas with significantly higher FA in patients were identified.


      Parietal and cerebellar white matter abnormalities may contribute to the emergence of psychotic symptoms in adolescence.

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