The brain in schizotypal personality disorder: a review of structural MRI and CT findings

Dickey CC, McCarley RW, Shenton ME

Harv Rev Psychiatry 2002 Jan-Feb;10(1):1-15

PMID: 11751641


Studies of schizotypal personality disorder (SPD) are important because the condition is genetically related to schizophrenia and because data accumulating to confirm its biological underpinnings are challenging some traditional views about the nature of per-sonality disorders. This review of 17 structural imaging studies in SPD indicates that individuals with this disorder show brain abnormalities in the superior temporal gyrus, parahippocampus, temporal horn region of the lateral ventricles, corpus callosum, thalamus, and septum pellucidum, as well as in total cerebrospinal fluid volume, similar to those seen in persons with schizophrenia. Differences between SPD and schizophrenia include lack of abnormalities in the medial temporal lobes and lateral ventricles in SPD. Whether the normal volume, and possibly normal functioning, of the medial temporal lobes in individuals with SPD may help to suppress psychosis in this disorder remains an intriguing but still unresolved question. Such speculation must be tempered due to a paucity of studies, and additional work is needed to confirm these preliminary findings. The imaging findings do suggest, however, that SPD probably represents a milder form of disease along the schizophrenia continuum. With further clarification of the neuroanatomy of SPD, researchers may be able to identify which neuroanatomical abnormalities are associated with the frank psychosis seen in schizophrenia.