In Vivo 7-Tesla MRI Investigation of Brain Iron and Its Metabolic Correlates in Chronic Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia (Heidelb). 2022 Oct 26;8(1):86. doi: 10.1038/s41537-022-00293-1.


Brain iron is central to dopaminergic neurotransmission, a key component in schizophrenia pathology. Iron can also generate oxidative stress, which is one proposed mechanism for gray matter volume reduction in schizophrenia. The role of brain iron in schizophrenia and its potential link to oxidative stress has not been previously examined. In this study, we used 7-Tesla MRI quantitative susceptibility mapping (QSM), magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS), and structural T1 imaging in 12 individuals with chronic schizophrenia and 14 healthy age-matched controls. In schizophrenia, there were higher QSM values in bilateral putamen and higher concentrations of phosphocreatine and lactate in caudal anterior cingulate cortex (caCC). Network-based correlation analysis of QSM across corticostriatal pathways as well as the correlation between QSM, MRS, and volume, showed distinct patterns between groups. This study introduces increased iron in the putamen in schizophrenia in addition to network-wide disturbances of iron and metabolic status.

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