MRI white matter diffusion anisotropy and PET metabolic rate in schizophrenia

Neuroreport. 1998 Feb 16;9(3):425-30. doi: 10.1097/00001756-199802160-00013.


A disturbance in the frontal-striatal-thalamic circuitry has been proposed for schizophrenia, but this concept has been based primarily on indirect evidence from psychopharmacology and analogies with animal research. Diffusion tensor imaging, a new MRI technique that permits direct assessment of the large axon masses stretching from the prefrontal cortex to the striatum, was used to study white matter axon bundles. Diffusion tensor images, high-resolution structural MRI and positron emission tomography scans with 18-fluorodexoyglucose were obtained on five patients with schizophrenia and six age- and sex-matched normal controls. Significantly lower diffusion anisotropy in the white matter of the prefrontal cortex in schizophrenic patients than in normal controls was observed in statistical probability maps. Co-registered PET scans revealed significantly lower correlation coefficients between metabolic rates in the prefrontal cortex and striatum in patients than in controls. These twin findings provide convergent evidence for diminished fronto-striatal connectivity in schizophrenia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anisotropy
  • Corpus Striatum / metabolism*
  • Diffusion
  • Female
  • Frontal Lobe / metabolism*
  • Glucose / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Schizophrenia / diagnosis*
  • Schizophrenia / metabolism
  • Thalamus / metabolism*
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed


  • Glucose