Perfusion shift from white to gray matter may account for processing speed deficits in schizophrenia

Hum Brain Mapp. 2015 Oct;36(10):3793-804. doi: 10.1002/hbm.22878. Epub 2015 Jun 24.


Reduced speed of cerebral information processing is a cognitive deficit associated with schizophrenia. Normal information processing speed (PS) requires intact white matter (WM) physiology to support information transfer. In a cohort of 107 subjects (47/60 patients/controls), we demonstrate that PS deficits in schizophrenia patients are explained by reduced WM integrity, which is measured using diffusion tensor imaging, mediated by the mismatch in WM/gray matter blood perfusion, and measured using arterial spin labeling. Our findings are specific to PS, and testing this hypothesis for patient-control differences in working memory produces no explanation. We demonstrate that PS deficits in schizophrenia can be explained by neurophysiological alterations in cerebral WM. Whether the disproportionately low WM integrity in schizophrenia is due to illness or secondary due to this disorder deserves further examination.

Keywords: DTI-FA; acute change; attention; cognition; nicotine; processing speed; white matter.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Algorithms
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation*
  • Diffusion Tensor Imaging
  • Female
  • Gray Matter / blood supply*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory, Short-Term
  • Middle Aged
  • Perfusion
  • Psychomotor Performance
  • Schizophrenia / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Schizophrenia / physiopathology*
  • Schizophrenic Psychology*
  • Smoking / psychology
  • Spin Labels
  • White Matter / blood supply*


  • Spin Labels