Uncinate fasciculus abnormalities in recent onset schizophrenia and affective psychosis: a diffusion tensor imaging study

Kawashima T, Nakamura M, Bouix S, Kubicki M, Salisbury DF, Westin CF, McCarley RW, Shenton ME

Schizophr. Res. 2009 May;110(1-3):119-26

PMID: 19328656


Two of the most frequently investigated regions in diffusion tensor imaging studies in chronic schizophrenia are the uncinate fasciculus (UF) and cingulum bundle (CB). The purpose of the present study was to determine whether UF and CB white matter integrity were altered at the early stage of illness and specific to schizophrenia. Fifteen schizophrenia subjects and 15 affective psychosis within 4 years of first hospitalization (12 patients with schizophrenia and 12 patients with affective psychosis during their first hospitalization), and 15 psychiatrically healthy controls underwent line-scan diffusion tensor imaging. Fractional anisotropy (FA) and mean diffusivity (D(m)) were used to quantify water diffusion, and cross-sectional area was defined with a directional threshold method. Bilaterally reduced FA, but not D(m), was present in the UF of schizophrenia compared with healthy controls. Affective psychosis was intermediate between schizophrenia subjects and healthy controls, but not significantly different from either. For CB, there was no significant group difference for FA or D(m). These findings suggest that UF, but not CB, white matter integrity is altered at the early stage of illness in schizophrenia although it may not be specific to schizophrenia. The CB abnormalities reported in chronic schizophrenia may develop during the later course of the disease.