Abnormal angular gyrus asymmetry in schizophrenia

Niznikiewicz M, Donnino R, McCarley RW, Nestor PG, Iosifescu DV, O’Donnell B, Levitt J, Shenton ME

Am J Psychiatry 2000 Mar;157(3):428-37

PMID: 10698820


OBJECTIVE: Few studies have evaluated the parietal lobe in schizophrenia despite the fact that it has an important role in attention, memory, and language-all functions that have been reported to be abnormal in schizophrenia. The inferior parietal lobule, in particular, is of interest because it is not only part of the heteromodal association cortex but also is part of the semantic-lexical network, which also includes the planum temporale. Both the inferior parietal lobule, particularly the angular gyrus of the inferior parietal lobule, and the planum temporale are brain regions that play a critical role as biological substrates of language and thought. The authors compared volume and asymmetry measures of the individual gyri of the parietal lobe by means of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans.

METHOD: MRI scans with a 1. 5-Tesla magnet were obtained from 15 male chronic schizophrenic and 15 comparison subjects matched for age, gender, and parental socioeconomic status.

RESULTS: Inferior parietal lobule volumes showed a leftward asymmetry (left 7.0% larger than right) in comparison subjects and a reversed asymmetry (left 6.3% smaller than right) in schizophrenic subjects. The angular gyrus accounted for this difference in asymmetry, with the left angular gyrus being significantly larger (18.7%) than the right in comparison subjects, a finding that was not observed in schizophrenic patients. A further test of angular gyrus asymmetry showed a reversal of the normal left-greater-than-right asymmetry in the schizophrenic patients.

CONCLUSIONS: Patients with schizophrenia showed a reversed asymmetry in the inferior parietal lobule that was localized to the angular gyrus, a structure belonging to the heteromodal association cortex as well as being part of the semantic-lexical network. This finding contributes to a more comprehensive understanding of the neural substrates of language and thought disorder in schizophrenia.