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Alterations in the structure of the corpus callosum (CC) have been observed in schizophrenia. Offspring of schizophrenia parents have 10-15 times higher risk for developing schizophrenia. We examined CC volume in offspring at genetic high-risk (HR) subjects. Since the sub-regions of the CC are topographically mapped to cortical brain regions, we hypothesized that HR subjects may show a decrement in total volume and differential volume decreases in sub-regions of the CC. The offspring of schizophrenia parents (HR; n=70; 36 males) and healthy volunteers with no family or personal history of psychotic disorders (healthy controls (HC); n=73; 37 males) matched for age, gender and education were selected for the study. Magnetic resonance images were collected using a GE 1.5T scanner and processed using FreeSurfer image analysis software. The CC was divided into five neuroanatomically based partitions. The volume of total CC and the five sub-regions were measured blind to clinical information. With covariation for intracranial volume, HR subjects had significantly reduced total CC, more prominently observed in the anterior splenium. An age-related increase in CC volume was found in the anterior and posterior splenium of healthy controls but not in HR subjects. The volume reduction was greater in male than female HR subjects. The volume reduction in the CC may reflect a reduction in axonal fibers crossing the hemispheres and/or myelination between the left and right temporo-parietal cortices. The absence of an age-related volume increase suggests an abnormal developmental trajectory that may underlie susceptibility to schizophrenia.
Department of Psychiatry, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, MA, USA; Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Psychiatry research
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