Fitzsimmons J, Hamoda HM, Swisher T, Terry D, Rosenberger G, Seidman LJ, Goldstein J, Mesholam-Gately R, Petryshen T, Wojcik J, Kikinis R, Kubicki M
Schizophr. Res. 2014 Jul;156(2-3):157-60
BACKGROUND: The fornix is a compact bundle of white matter fibers that project from the hippocampus to the mamillary bodies and septal nuclei. Its association with memory, as well as with symptoms in schizophrenia, has been reported in chronic schizophrenia. The purpose of this study is to determine whether or not fornix abnormalities are evident at the onset of schizophrenia.
METHODS: Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and DT tractography were used to evaluate the fornix in 21 patients with first episode schizophrenia (16 males/5 females) and 22 healthy controls (13 males/9 females). Groups were matched on age, gender, parental socioeconomic status, education and handedness. Fractional anisotropy (FA), a measure of white matter integrity, radial diffusivity (RD), thought to reflect myelin integrity, trace, a possible marker of atrophy or cell loss, and axial diffusivity (AD), thought to reflect axonal integrity, were averaged over the entire tract extracted by means of DT tractography, and used to investigate fornix abnormalities in first episode schizophrenia compared with healthy controls.
RESULTS: Significant group differences were found between first episode patients and controls for FA (p=0.0001), RD (p=0.001) and trace (p=0.006).
CONCLUSION: These findings suggest abnormalities in the fornix in the early stages of schizophrenia, and further suggest that white matter abnormalities, which are apparent in the early course of the disease, may reflect myelin disturbances.