Reduced volume of the cerebellar vermis in neuroleptic-naive schizophrenia

Biol Psychiatry. 2001 Jan 1;49(1):20-7. doi: 10.1016/s0006-3223(00)01081-7.


Background: Neuroimaging studies have suggested the possible role of the cerebellum in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia. However, no study has investigated the detailed structures of the cerebellum in patients without a history of neuroleptic medication. The objective of this study is to examine the volume of detailed structures of the cerebellum in neuroleptic-naive schizophrenic patients and to examine the relationship between cerebellar morphology and clinical symptoms.

Methods: Magnetic resonance imaging scans were acquired from 20 male neuroleptic-naive schizophrenic patients and 20 healthy control subjects. We measured the volumes of the cerebrum, cerebellar hemisphere, cerebellar gray and white matter, and vermis. Symptoms were assessed with the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale. Total Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale scores and subscale scores were used for analysis.

Results: The volume of the vermis was significantly reduced in the schizophrenic group relative to the control group, whereas no significant differences were found in the volumes of other cerebellar structures and the cerebrum. Reduction in the vermal volume correlated with the total Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale Depression subscore and Paranoia subscore.

Conclusions: This study indicates that the volume of the vermis is reduced in patients with schizophrenia, and reduction in vermal volume is suggested to be related to the pathophysiology of the disease.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cerebellar Nuclei / pathology*
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Schizophrenia / pathology*
  • Schizophrenic Psychology