Reduced cortical thickness in right Heschl's gyrus associated with auditory verbal hallucinations severity in first-episode schizophrenia

BMC Psychiatry. 2015 Jul 7;15:152. doi: 10.1186/s12888-015-0546-2.


Background: Auditory verbal hallucinations (AVHs) represent one of the most intriguing phenomena in schizophrenia, however, brain abnormalities underlying AVHs remain unclear. The present study examined the association between cortical thickness and AVHs in first-episode schizophrenia.

Method: High-resolution MR images were obtained in 49 first-episode schizophrenia (FES) patients and 50 well-matched healthy controls (HCs). Among the FES patients, 18 suffered persistent AVHs ("auditory hallucination" AH group), and 31 never experienced AVHs ("no hallucination" NH group). The severity of AVHs was rated by the Auditory Hallucinations Rating Scale (AHRS). Cortical thickness differences among the three groups and their association with AVHs severity were examined.

Results: Compared to both HCs and NH patients, AH patients showed lower cortical thickness in the right Heschl's gyrus. The degree of reduction in the cortical thickness was correlated with AVH severity in the AH patients.

Conclusions: Abnormalities of cortical thickness in the Heschl's gyrus may be a physiological factor underlying auditory verbal hallucinations in schizophrenia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Auditory Cortex / pathology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Hallucinations / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Schizophrenia / pathology*
  • Young Adult