White matter reduction in patients with schizophrenia as revealed by voxel-based morphometry: an activation likelihood estimation meta-analysis

Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2009 Nov 13;33(8):1390-4. doi: 10.1016/j.pnpbp.2009.08.020. Epub 2009 Sep 7.


Schizophrenia is thought to be a mental disorder caused by the disconnection of brain regions. Cumulative evidence of white matter deficit in patients with schizophrenia has been reported using voxel-based morphometry (VBM), but these studies have not been quantitatively reviewed. In the study reported herein, we used activation likelihood estimation (ALE) analysis to quantitatively estimate focal white matter abnormalities in patients with schizophrenia. Seventeen studies that compared the white matter deficit of patients with schizophrenia and healthy controls were ascertained. The frontal white matter regions and internal capsule revealed consistent white matter reduction in patient groups relative to healthy controls, suggesting a clear focal white matter deficit in patients with schizophrenia. These results support the macro-circuit theory of white matter change in schizophrenia.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain Mapping
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods
  • Likelihood Functions
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Male
  • Nerve Fibers, Myelinated / pathology*
  • Neural Pathways / pathology
  • Schizophrenia / pathology*