Tract-based analysis of magnetization transfer ratio and diffusion tensor imaging of the frontal and frontotemporal connections in schizophrenia

Renéc W. Mandl, Hugo G. Schnack, Judy Luigjes, Martijn P. Van Den Heuvel, Wiepke Cahn, René S. Kahn, Hilleke E.Hulshoff Pol

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Background: In the pathophysiology of schizophrenia, aberrant connectivity between brain regions may be a central feature. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) studies have shown altered fractional anisotropy (FA) in white brain matter in schizophrenia. Focal reductions in myelin have been suggested in patients using magnetization transfer ratio (MTR) imaging but to what extent schizophrenia may be related to changes in MTR measured along entire fiber bundles is still unknown. Methods: DTI and MTR images were acquired with a 1.5-T scanner in 40 schizophrenia patients and compared with those of 40 healthy participants. The mean FA and mean MTR were measured along the genu of the corpus callosum and the left and right uncinate fasciculus. Results: A higher mean MTR of 1% was found in the right uncinate fasciculus in patients compared with healthy participants. A significant negative correlation between age and mean FA in the left uncinate fasciculus was found in schizophrenia patients but not in healthy participants. Conclusions: Decreased FA in the left uncinate fasciculus may be more prominent in patients with longer illness duration. The increased mean MTR in the right uncinate fasciculus could reflect a compensatory role for myelin in these fibers or possibly represent aberrant frontotemporal connectivity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)778-787
Number of pages10
JournalSchizophrenia Bulletin
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2010

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