Fiber geometry in the corpus callosum in schizophrenia: evidence for transcallosal misconnection

Whitford TJ, Savadjiev P, Kubicki M, O’Donnell LJ, Terry DP, Bouix S, Westin CF, Schneiderman JS, Bobrow L, Rausch AC, Niznikiewicz M, Nestor PG, Pantelis C, Wood SJ, McCarley RW, Shenton ME

Schizophr. Res. 2011 Oct;132(1):69-74

PMID: 21831601


BACKGROUND: Structural abnormalities in the callosal fibers connecting the heteromodal association areas of the prefrontal and temporoparietal cortices bilaterally have been suggested to play a role in the etiology of schizophrenia.

AIMS: To investigate for geometric abnormalities in these callosal fibers in schizophrenia patients by using a novel Diffusion-Tensor Imaging (DTI) metric of fiber geometry named Shape-Normalized Dispersion (SHD).

METHODS: DTIs (3T, 51 gradient directions, 1.7mm isotropic voxels) were acquired from 26 schizophrenia patients and 23 matched healthy controls. The prefrontal and temporoparietal fibers of the corpus callosum were extracted by means of whole-brain tractography, and their mean SHD calculated.

RESULTS: The schizophrenia patients exhibited subnormal levels of SHD in the prefrontal callosal fibers when controlling for between-group differences in Fractional Anisotropy. Reduced SHD could reflect either irregularly turbulent or inhomogeneously distributed fiber trajectories in the corpus callosum.

CONCLUSIONS: The results suggest that the transcallosal misconnectivity thought to be associated with schizophrenia could reflect abnormalities in fiber geometry. These abnormalities in fiber geometry could potentially be underpinned by neurodevelopmental irregularities.