Reduced pyramidal cell somal volume in auditory association cortex of subjects with schizophrenia

Neuropsychopharmacology. 2003 Mar;28(3):599-609. doi: 10.1038/sj.npp.1300120. Epub 2002 Dec 3.


Subjects with schizophrenia have decreased gray matter volume of auditory association cortex in structural imaging studies, and exhibit deficits in auditory sensory memory processes subserved by this region. In dorsal prefrontal cortex (dPFC), similar in vivo observations of reduced regional volume and working memory deficits in subjects with schizophrenia have been related to reduced somal volume of deep layer 3 pyramidal cells. We hypothesized that deep layer 3 pyramidal cell somal volume would also be reduced in auditory association cortex (BA42) in schizophrenia. We used the nucleator to estimate the somal volume of pyramidal neurons in deep layer 3 of BA42 in 18 subjects with schizophrenia, each of whom was matched to one normal comparison subject for gender, age, and post-mortem interval. For all subject pairs, somal volume of pyramidal neurons in deep layer 3 of dPFC (BA9) had previously been determined. In BA42, somal volume was reduced by 13.1% in schizophrenic subjects (p=0.03). Reductions in somal volume were not associated with the history of antipsychotic use, alcohol dependence, schizoaffective disorder, or death by suicide. The percent change in somal volume within-subject pairs was highly correlated between BA42 and BA9 (r=0.67, p=0.002). Deep layer 3 pyramidal cell somal volume is reduced in BA42 of subjects with schizophrenia. This reduction may contribute to impairment in auditory function. The correlated reductions of somal volume in BA42 and BA9 suggest that a common factor may affect deep layer 3 pyramidal cells in both regions.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Auditory Cortex / pathology*
  • Cell Size / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pyramidal Cells / pathology*
  • Schizophrenia / pathology*