Relationship Between White Matter Integrity, Attention, and Memory in Schizophrenia: A Diffusion Tensor Imaging Study

Kubicki M, Niznikiewicz M, Connor E, Ungar L, Nestor P, Bouix S, Dreusicke M, Kikinis R, McCarley R, Shenton ME

Brain Imaging Behav 2009 Jun;3(2):191-201

PMID: 20556231


Attention and memory deficits are among the most prominent cognitive disturbances observed in schizophrenia. It has been suggested that a disruption in anatomical connectivity between areas involved in attentional control might be responsible for these abnormalities. We used Diffusion Tensor Tractography and Color Stroop/Negative Priming(NP) paradigm to investigate integrity of Cingulum Bundle(CB), the main white matter tract interconnecting these regions, and its relationship with executive functions in patients with schizophrenia and matched controls. The Fractional Anisotropy(FA), was calculated along the CB pathways, and correlated with reaction times for each Stroop item, and both Stroop, and NP effects. Patients with schizophrenia demonstrated decreased CB integrity and diminished NP effect, compared with controls, but both groups showed Stroop effect. For patients only, reaction times for every item, as well as for Stroop effect, correlated with left CB FA. These findings suggest that CB integrity disruptions might compromise the executive processes in schizophrenia.