Abnormalities in myelination of the superior cerebellar peduncle in patients with schizophrenia and deficits in movement sequencing

Hüttlova J, Kikinis Z, Kerkovsky M, Bouix S, Vu MA, Makris N, Shenton ME, Kasparek T

Cerebellum 2014 Aug;13(4):415-24

PMID: 24550129


Deficits in the execution of a sequence of movements are common in schizophrenia. Previous studies reported reduced functional activity in the motor cortex and cerebellum in schizophrenic patients with deficits in movement sequencing. The corticospinal tract (CST) and superior cerebellar peduncle (SCP) are fiber tracts that are involved in movement sequencing. However, the integrity of these tracts has not been evaluated in schizophrenic patients with respect to the performance of movement sequencing yet. Diffusion tensor magnetic resonance images (DT-MRI) were acquired from 24 patients with schizophrenia and 23 matched control subjects. Tractography was applied to reconstruct the CST and SCP and DT-MRI-specific parameters such as fractional anisotropy (FA) and radial diffusivity (RD) were reported. The patient group was further subdivided based on the score of sequencing of complex motor acts subscale of the Neurological Evaluation Scale into those with deficits in sequencing motor acts, the SQ(abn) group (n = 7), and those with normal performance, the SQ(norm) group (n = 17). Schizophrenia patients of the SQ(norm) subgroup had significantly reduced FA and increased RD values in the right CST in comparison to the control group; the SQ(abn) subgroup did not differ from the controls. However, the SQ(abn) subgroup showed impaired integrity of the left SCP, whereas the SQ(norm) subgroup did not. Abnormalities in the right CST in the SQ(norm) and in the left SCP in SQ(abn) groups suggest that the patients with SQ(abn) represent subgroups with distinct deficits. Moreover, these results demonstrate the involvement of the SCP in the pathogenesis of movement sequencing in schizophrenia.