The lateral and third ventricles, as well as the corpus callosum (CC), are known to be affected in schizophrenia. Here we investigate whether abnormalities in the lateral ventricles (LVs), third ventricle, and corpus callosum are related to one another in first episode schizophrenia (FESZ), and whether such abnormalities show progression over time. Nineteen FESZ and 19 age- and handedness-matched controls were included in the study. MR images were acquired on a 3-Tesla MRI at baseline and ~1.2 years later. FreeSurfer v.5.3 was employed for segmentation. Two-way or univariate ANCOVAs were used for statistical analysis, where the covariate was intracranial volume. Group and gender were included as between-subjects factors. Percent volume changes between baseline and follow-up were used to determine volume changes at follow-up. Bilateral LV and third ventricle volumes were significantly increased, while central CC volume was significantly decreased in patients compared to controls at baseline and at follow-up. In FESZ, the bilateral LV volume was also inversely correlated with volume of the central CC. This inverse correlation was not present in controls. In FESZ, an inverse correlation was found between percent volume increase from baseline to follow-up for bilateral LVs and lesser improvement in the Global Assessment of Functioning score. Significant correlations were observed for abnormalities of central CC, LVs and third ventricle volumes in FESZ, suggesting a common neurodevelopmental origin in schizophrenia. Enlargement of ventricles was associated with less improvement in global functioning over time.
Keywords: Corpus callosum; FreeSurfer; Multi-atlas brain masking; Neurodevelopment; Schizophrenia; Ventricles.