Background: Corpus callosum (CC) morphology has recently been investigated in schizophrenia using refined imaging and analytic techniques; however, methodological problems and small sample sizes have led to inconsistent findings.
Methods: This study used a large sample of male schizophrenics (n = 79) and male controls (n = 65) to investigate size and shape of the CC on midsagittal magnetic resonance images. Size was determined by tracing the area of the CC, and shape was determined using a landmark-based analysis. In addition, the relationship between CC morphology and phenomenologic variables such as age of onset, length of illness, exposure to medications, and symptom severity was explored.
Results: After controlling for age, height, and parental socioeconomic status, there was a main effect of diagnosis on CC size (F = 5.05, df = 1,139, p < .03), with patients' CCs being significantly smaller. No difference was found between patients and controls in CC shape (F = 1.07, df = 18,125, p > .38) or orientation (F = 0.79, df = 18,125, p > .70), using a landmark-based technique. Finally, there was a significant inverse correlation between size of CC and severity of negative symptoms.
Conclusions: These findings support previous studies that have found a decrease in size of the CC in patients with schizophrenia. Moreover, the decrement in volume is generalized, not regional, and is related to the severity of negative symptoms.