Neuroanatomy of vulnerability to psychosis: a voxel-based meta-analysis

Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2011 Apr;35(5):1175-85. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2010.12.005. Epub 2010 Dec 17.


Background: Individual structural imaging studies in the pre-psychotic phases deliver contrasting findings and are unable to definitively characterize the neuroanatomical correlates of an increased liability to psychosis and to predict transition to psychosis.

Method: Ninenteen voxel-based morphometry (VBM) studies of subjects at enhanced risk for psychosis and healthy controls were included in an activation likelihood estimation (ALE) meta-analysis.

Results: The overall sample consisted of 701 controls and 896 high risk subjects. Subjects at high risk for psychosis showed reduced gray matter (GM) volume as compared to controls in the right superior temporal gyrus, left precuneus, left medial frontal gyrus, right middle frontal gyrus, bilateral parahippocampal/hippocampal regions and bilateral anterior cingulate. High risk subjects who later developed a psychotic episode showed baseline GM volume reductions in the right inferior frontal gyrus and in the right superior temporal gyrus.

Conclusions: GM volume reductions in temporo-parietal, bilateral prefrontal and limbic cortex are neuroanatomical correlates of an enhanced vulnerability to psychosis. Baseline GM reductions in superior temporal and inferior frontal areas are associated with later transition to psychosis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Databases, Factual / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Male
  • Meta-Analysis as Topic
  • Neuroanatomy / methods*
  • Psychotic Disorders / genetics
  • Psychotic Disorders / pathology*
  • Psychotic Disorders / prevention & control
  • Risk Factors
  • Young Adult