Psychiatry research

Positive symptoms and water diffusivity of the prefrontal and temporal cortices in schizophrenia patients: a pilot study.

PMID 25106804


The development of diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) has provided information about microstructural changes in the brain. Most DTI studies have focused on white matter (WM). Few DTI studies have examined the gray matter (GM) in schizophrenia and, to date, there has been no attempt to identify the relationship between water diffusivity and symptom severity in schizophrenia. The present study aimed to examine microstructural deficits in the dorsal prefrontal cortex (DPFC) and temporal cortex in schizophrenia patients using fractional anisotropy (FA) and water diffusivity. This study also explored the relationship between DTI measurements and psychotic symptoms. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and DTI were used to study 19 schizophrenia patients and 19 healthy controls. Fractional anisotropy, axial diffusivity, radial diffusivity, and regional volumes were measured in the prefrontal cortex and temporal cortex. On DTI measurements, patients showed increased axial and radial diffusivities in the prefrontal cortex and temporal cortex, but they did not demonstrate any difference in fractional anisotropy and regional volumes. Additionally, axial and radial diffusivities were significantly correlated with positive symptom scores in all regions of interest. These results indicate that water diffusivity measurements, including axial and radial diffusivities, can be used to identify microstructural changes in the gray matter in schizophrenia that may be related to symptom severity.