White matter structure in young adults with familial risk for psychosis - The Oulu Brain and Mind Study

Psychiatry Res. 2015 Sep 30;233(3):388-93. doi: 10.1016/j.pscychresns.2015.06.015. Epub 2015 Jul 2.


According to the disconnectivity model, disruptions in neural connectivity play an essential role in the pathology of schizophrenia. The aim of this study was to determine whether these abnormalities are present in young adults with familial risk (FR) for psychosis in the general population based sample. We used diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and tract-based spatial statistics to compare whole-brain fractional anisotropy, mean diffusivity, and axial and radial diffusion in 47 (17 males) FR subjects to 51 controls (17 males). All the participants were aged between 20 and 25 years and were members of the Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1986 (Oulu Brain and Mind Study). Region of interest analyses were conducted for 12 tracts. Separately, we analysed whole-brain FA for the subgroup with FR for schizophrenia (n=13) compared with 13 gender-matched controls. Contrary to our expectations there were no differences in any of the DTI measures between FR and control groups. This suggests that white matter abnormalities may not be a genetic feature for risk of psychosis and preceding the onset of a psychotic disorder. Our findings do not support the theory of disconnectivity as a primary sign of psychosis in young adults with FR for the illness.

Keywords: Birth cohort; DTI; Risk for psychosis; TBSS.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anisotropy
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Brain / pathology
  • Diffusion Tensor Imaging / methods
  • Female
  • Finland / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Psychophysiology
  • Psychotic Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Psychotic Disorders / epidemiology
  • Psychotic Disorders / metabolism*
  • Risk Factors
  • White Matter / metabolism*
  • White Matter / pathology*
  • Young Adult