Fine volumetric analysis of the cerebral ventricular system in schizophrenia: further evidence for multifocal mild to moderate enlargement

Schizophr Bull. 2000;26(1):201-16. doi: 10.1093/oxfordjournals.schbul.a033440.


We used traditional volumetric regional analysis and a finer anterior-posterior (AP) profile volumetric analysis to examine the cerebral ventricular system in an all-male, demographically matched sample of schizophrenia patients (n = 73) and normal controls (n = 29) using 2.8-mm-thin coronal T1-weighted magnetic resonance images from a 1.5 tesla scanner. Traditional regional analysis was performed on various regions using absolute volumes after adjusting for intracranial volume (ICV) and age. The fine AP profile analysis was done by intrasubject "stacking" of contiguous coronal cross-sectional volumes (adjusted for ICV and age) across the AP plane, intersubject AP alignment of all slices relative to the mammillary bodies, and plotting of slice volumes along the AP plane with 95 percent t-test-based confidence intervals. Schizophrenia subjects had mild to moderate multifocal ventricular enlargement (overall effect size d = 0.48), which was especially prominent in the right posterior temporal horn and, more generally, in the central to posterior portions of the lateral and third ventricles. Schizophrenia subjects also had milder enlargement in the left frontal horn, but no significant differences were found in the anterior temporal horns and the right frontal horn. Post hoc analyses of demographic, clinical, and neuropsychological variables did not account for much variance in the ventriculomegaly observed in the schizophrenia group. The lack of a single locus in the observed ventricular enlargement, the nonsignificant results from schizophrenia subtypes based on regional distributions, and the strong positive correlations among the ventricular regions for the schizophrenia group suggest that the ventriculomegaly seen in this chronic population reflects a single brainwide disease process leading to a multifocal or patchy loss of integrity in brain structure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Age of Onset
  • Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale / statistics & numerical data
  • Cerebral Ventricles / anatomy & histology*
  • Functional Laterality
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests / statistics & numerical data
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales / statistics & numerical data
  • Racial Groups
  • Schizophrenia / diagnosis*