Morphometric brain abnormalities in schizophrenia in a population-based sample: relationship to duration of illness

Schizophr Bull. 2010 Jul;36(4):766-77. doi: 10.1093/schbul/sbn141. Epub 2008 Nov 17.


Biased recruitment and sample selection may cause variability in neuroimaging studies. Epidemiologically principled population-based magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies of schizophrenia are very rare. We gathered structural MRI data on 154 subjects from the Northern Finland 1966 Birth Cohort, aged 33-35 (100 controls, 54 schizophrenia patients). Regional differences in density of gray matter, white matter, and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) were identified between groups using nonparametric statistical analysis, and the relationship of the regional differences to duration of illness was explored. Gray matter reductions were found bilaterally in the cerebellum, thalamus, basal ganglia, middle frontal gyrus, inferior frontal gyrus, precentral gyrus, insula, superior temporal gyrus, fusiform gyrus, parahippocampal gyrus, cuneus, and lingual gyrus; in the left posterior cingulate, superior frontal gyrus, transverse temporal gyrus, and precuneus; and in the right postcentral gyrus. Gray matter excesses were observed bilaterally in the basal ganglia, anterior cingulate, and medial orbitofrontal cortices. There were white matter deficits in an extensive network including inter- and intrahemispheric tracts bilaterally in the frontal, temporal, parietal, and occipital lobes, subcortical structures, cerebellum, and brain stem. CSF excesses were found bilaterally in the lateral ventricles, third ventricle, interhemispheric, and left Sylvian fissure. We replicated the previous findings of structural brain abnormalities in schizophrenia on a general population level. Gray and white matter deficits were associated with duration of illness suggesting either that developmental brain deficits relate to an earlier age of onset or that brain abnormalities in schizophrenia are progressive in nature.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age of Onset
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Cerebral Ventricles / pathology
  • Cerebrospinal Fluid / physiology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Disease Progression
  • Dominance, Cerebral / physiology
  • Female
  • Finland
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Reference Values
  • Schizophrenia / diagnosis*
  • Schizophrenia / pathology*
  • Statistics, Nonparametric