White Matter Connectivity in Youth at Risk for Serious Mental Illness: A Longitudinal Analysis

Psychiatry Res Neuroimaging. 2020 Aug 30:302:111106. doi: 10.1016/j.pscychresns.2020.111106. Epub 2020 May 22.


Longitudinal changes in white matter connectivity were assessed in a sample of youth at-risk for serious mental illness (n=183; age 12-25). Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) was acquired at baseline and 12 months from youth recruited across two sites and classified as healthy controls (n=36), familial risk (n=30), mild-symptoms (n=41), attenuated syndromes (n=70), or transition (n=9) based on clinical assessments. Fractional anisotropy (FA) and mean diffusivity (MD) values were derived for the whole brain white matter, forceps minor, anterior cingulate, anterior thalamic radiations, inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus, superior longitudinal fasciculus, and uncinate fasciculus. MANCOVA analysis controlling for site, sex, and age showed no significant group differences in FA and MD at baseline or at 12 months. Linear mixed effects analysis showed a significant effect for time for most white matter tracts, but no effect for group, or group by time interaction. Transdiagnostic risk groups have similar profiles of WM connectivity and similar rates of change over time.

Keywords: Anterior thalamic radiations; Canadian Psychiatric Risk and Outcome; Depression; Diffusion tensor imaging; Fiber tractography; Transdiagnostic risk.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anisotropy
  • Bipolar Disorder / diagnostic imaging
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Corpus Callosum / diagnostic imaging*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / diagnostic imaging
  • Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Diffusion Tensor Imaging / methods
  • Female
  • Gyrus Cinguli / diagnostic imaging*
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / diagnostic imaging*
  • Nerve Fibers, Myelinated
  • Neural Pathways / diagnostic imaging
  • Risk
  • Schizophrenia / diagnostic imaging
  • Uncinate Fasciculus / diagnostic imaging
  • White Matter / diagnostic imaging*
  • Young Adult