Sex differences in the absence of massa intermedia in patients with schizophrenia versus healthy controls

Schizophr Res. 2001 Mar 30;48(2-3):177-85. doi: 10.1016/s0920-9964(00)00067-0.


Objective: To evaluate sexual dimorphism and incidence of absent massa intermedia (MI), a midline thalamic structure, in patients with schizophrenia and healthy controls.

Methods: Thin slice magnetic resonance images of the brain were obtained. The presence of MI was determined by viewing sagittal, coronal, and axial planes.

Results: In healthy controls, females had a significantly lower incidence of absent MI (13.56%) compared with males (32.08%). In patients with schizophrenia, there was a sex by diagnosis interaction. Female patients had significantly higher incidence of absent MI (32.76%) compared with their healthy controls (13.56%), whereas the male patients showed no difference in incidence of absent MI compared with their controls.

Conclusion: The MI, a sexually dimorphic midline structure, is more commonly absent in female patients with schizophrenia. These results support the growing literature reporting structural aberration of the thalamus, as well as other midline structures in the brains of patients with schizophrenia.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Schizophrenia* / diagnosis
  • Sex Characteristics*
  • Sex Factors
  • Thalamus / abnormalities*