Partial volume decrease of the thalamus in relatives of patients with schizophrenia

Am J Psychiatry. 1998 Dec;155(12):1784-6. doi: 10.1176/ajp.155.12.1784.


Objective: The authors' goal was to compare the thalamic, total brain, and intracranial volumes of patients with schizophrenia, their healthy siblings, and normal comparison subjects.

Method: Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) brain scans were obtained for 32 same-sex siblings who were discordant for schizophrenia and 32 matched normal comparison subjects.

Results: Mean total thalamic volume, corrected for total brain volume, was significantly different among affected siblings, unaffected siblings, and comparison subjects. Thalamic volume was smallest in the patients; thalamic volume in their siblings was smaller than that of comparison subjects but larger than that of the patients with schizophrenia.

Conclusions: These results suggest that healthy siblings of patients with schizophrenia partially share the thalamic abnormalities of their affected relatives.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Brain / anatomy & histology
  • Family*
  • Female
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Schizophrenia / genetics*
  • Thalamus / anatomy & histology*