Changes in hemispheric asymmetry and inter-hemispheric connectivity have been reported in schizophrenia. However, the genetic contribution to these alterations is still unclear. In the current study, we applied an automatic segmentation method to structural MRI and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) data and examined volume and fiber integrity of the corpus callosum (CC), the main interhemispheric fiber tract, in 16 chronic schizophrenia (SZ) patients, matched first degree relatives and controls. SZ patients and relatives had smaller CC volumes than controls, particularly in the posterior genu, isthmus and splenium. Fractional anisotropy (FA), an indicator of fiber integrity, was reduced in patients and relatives in the whole CC, the inferior genu, the superior genu and the isthmus. Correspondingly, the mean diffusivity (MD) values of the whole CC and the isthmus were higher in patients and their unaffected relatives, indicating decreased compactness and increased intercellular space. Relatives had intermediate values in the volumetric and fiber integrity measurements between patients and controls. Lower CC volume and fiber integrity in SZ patients were associated with more severe auditory hallucinations. These results support the connectivity hypothesis of SZ (Friston, 1998) and particularly highlight the altered interhemispheric connectivity, which appears to be a genetic feature of SZ risk.
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