There are varying, often conflicting, reports with respect to altered striatal volume and morphometry in the major psychoses due to the influences of antipsychotic medications on striatal volume. Thus, disassociating disease effects from those of medication become exceedingly difficult. For the first time, using a longitudinally studied sample of structural magnetic resonance images from patients with childhood onset schizophrenia (COS; neurobiologically contiguous with the adult onset form of schizophrenia), their nonpsychotic siblings (COSSIBs), and novel shape mapping algorithms that are volume independent, we report the familial contribution of striatal morphology in schizophrenia. The results of our volumetric analyses demonstrate age-related increases in overall striatal volumes specific only to COS. However, both COS and COSSIBs showed overlapping shape differences in the striatal head, which normalized in COSSIBs by late adolescence. These results mirror previous studies from our group, demonstrating cortical thickness deficits in COS and COSSIBs as these deficits normalize in COSSIBs in the same age range as our striatal findings. Finally, there is a single region of nonoverlapping outward displacement in the dorsal aspect of the caudate body, potentially indicative of a response to medication. Striatal shape may be considered complimentary to volume as an endophenotype, and, in some cases may provide information that is not detectable using standard volumetric techniques. Our striatal shape findings demonstrate the striking localization of abnormalities in striatal the head. The neuroanatomical localization of these findings suggest the presence of abnormalities in the striatal-prefrontal circuits in schizophrenia and resilience mechanisms in COSSIBs with age dependent normalization.
Keywords: childhood onset schizophrenia; shape analysis; striatal morphology; striatum; unaffected siblings.
© 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.