Objective: The superior temporal gyrus is associated with developmental mechanisms of brain lateralization and the pathogenesis of language-related schizophrenic symptoms. It therefore lends itself to investigation of developmental deviance in the early onset of schizophrenia.
Method: Using stereological methods, the authors obtained bilateral measurements of the superior temporal gyrus (total, gray matter, and white matter volumes) from 40 adolescents with recent-onset schizophrenia and an equal number of matched healthy volunteers. Symptoms were rated by using the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale.
Results: The total and gray matter volume of the right superior temporal gyrus was significantly lower in patients with early-onset schizophrenia than in the healthy volunteers, even after differences in whole brain volume were controlled. Bilateral superior temporal gyrus volumes were positively correlated with the age at onset of psychosis, while severity of thought disorder and hallucinations were inversely related to right superior temporal gyrus volume.
Conclusions: In patients with early-onset schizophrenia, the predominantly right-sided volumetric abnormalities found in the superior temporal gyrus may reflect a particularly early neurodevelopmental disruption. The relationship between language-related symptoms and superior temporal gyrus volume is similar to that seen in adult-onset cases but not as lateralized.