Age-related deficits in fronto-temporal connections in schizophrenia: a diffusion tensor imaging study

Rosenberger G, Kubicki M, Nestor PG, Connor E, Bushell GB, Markant D, Niznikiewicz M, Westin CF, Kikinis R, J Saykin A, McCarley RW, Shenton ME

Schizophr. Res. 2008 Jul;102(1-3):181-8

PMID: 18504117


OBJECTIVE: Impairment of white matter connecting frontal and temporal cortices has been reported in schizophrenia. Yet, not much is known about the effects of age on fibers connecting these brain regions. Using diffusion tensor imaging tractography, we investigated the relationship between age and fiber integrity in patients with schizophrenia vs. healthy adults.

METHODS: DTI tractography was used to create 3D reconstructions of the cingulum, uncinate and inferior occipito-frontal fasciculi in 27 patients with schizophrenia and 34 healthy volunteers (23-56 years of age, group-matched on age). Fractional anisotropy (FA), describing fiber integrity, was then calculated along the entire length of these tracts, and correlated with subjects’ age.

RESULTS: Patients revealed a significant decline in FA with age in both the cingulum and uncinate, but not in the inferior occipito-frontal fasciculi. No statistically significant correlations were found in these fiber bundles in controls.

CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest an age-associated reduction of frontal-temporal connectivity in schizophrenia, but not in healthy controls.