Analysis of local gyrification index using a novel shape-adaptive kernel and the standard FreeSurfer spherical kernel - evidence from chronic schizophrenia outpatients

Heliyon. 2020 Jun 8;6(6):e04172. doi: 10.1016/j.heliyon.2020.e04172. eCollection 2020 Jun.


Schizophrenia can be considered a brain disconnectivity condition related to aberrant neurodevelopment that causes alterations in the brain structure, including gyrification of the cortex. Literature findings on cortical folding are incoherent: they report hypogyria in the frontal, superior-parietal and temporal cortices, but also frontal hypergyria. This discrepancy in local gyrification index (LGI) results could be due to the commonly used spherical kernel (Freesurfer), which is a method of analysis that is still not spatially precise enough. In this study we would like to test the spatial accuracy of a novel method based on a shape-adaptive kernel (Cmorph). The analysis of differences in gyrification between chronic schizophrenia outpatients (n = 30) and healthy controls (n = 30) was conducted with two methods: Freesurfer LGI and Cmorph LGI. Widespread differences in the LGI between schizophrenia outpatients and healthy controls were found using both methods. Freesurfer showed hypogyria in the superior temporal gyrus and the right temporal pole; it also showed hypergyria in the rostral-middle-frontal cortex in schizophrenia outpatients. In comparison, Cmorph revealed that hypergyria is equally represented as hypogyria in orbitofrontal and central brain regions. The clusters from Cmorph were smaller and distributed more broadly, covering all lobes of the brain. The presented evidence from disrupted cortical folding in schizophrenia indicates that the shape-adaptive kernel approach has a potential to improve the knowledge on the disrupted cortical folding in schizophrenia; therefore, it could be a valuable tool for further investigation on big sample size.

Keywords: Adaptive kernel; Clinical psychology; Cmorph; Local gyrification index; Mental disorder; Mental health; Nervous system; Neuroanatomy; Neuroscience; Psychological disorders; Schizophrenia; Spherical kernel.