The cortical signature of impaired gesturing: Findings from schizophrenia.
ABSTRACT: Schizophrenia is characterized by deficits in gesturing that is important for nonverbal communication. Research in healthy participants and brain-damaged patients revealed a left-lateralized fronto-parieto-temporal network underlying gesture performance. First evidence from structural imaging studies in schizophrenia corroborates these results. However, as of yet, it is unclear if cortical thickness abnormalities contribute to impairments in gesture performance. We hypothesized that patients with deficits in gesture production show cortical thinning in 12 regions of interest (ROIs) of a gesture network relevant for gesture performance and recognition. Forty patients with schizophrenia and 41 healthy controls performed hand and finger gestures as either imitation or pantomime. Group differences in cortical thickness between patients with deficits, patients without deficits, and controls were explored using a multivariate analysis of covariance. In addition, the relationship between gesture recognition and cortical thickness was investigated. Patients with deficits in gesture production had reduced cortical thickness in eight ROIs, including the pars opercularis of the inferior frontal gyrus, the superior and inferior parietal lobes, and the superior and middle temporal gyri. Gesture recognition correlated with cortical thickness in fewer, but mainly the same, ROIs within the patient sample. In conclusion, our results show that impaired gesture production and recognition in schizophrenia is associated with cortical thinning in distinct areas of the gesture network.
Project description:PURPOSE AND OBJECTIVES:Neurologic deficits after brain radiation therapy (RT) typically involve decline in higher-order cognitive functions such as attention and memory rather than sensory defects or paralysis. We sought to determine whether areas of the cortex critical to cognition are selectively vulnerable to radiation dose-dependent atrophy. METHODS AND MATERIALS:We measured change in cortical thickness in 54 primary brain tumor patients who underwent fractionated, partial brain RT. The study patients underwent high-resolution, volumetric magnetic resonance imaging (T1-weighted; T2 fluid-attenuated inversion recovery, FLAIR) before RT and 1 year afterward. Semiautomated software was used to segment anatomic regions of the cerebral cortex for each patient. Cortical thickness was measured for each region before RT and 1 year afterward. Two higher-order cortical regions of interest (ROIs) were tested for association between radiation dose and cortical thinning: entorhinal (memory) and inferior parietal (attention/memory). For comparison, 2 primary cortex ROIs were also tested: pericalcarine (vision) and paracentral lobule (somatosensory/motor). Linear mixed-effects analyses were used to test all other cortical regions for significant radiation dose-dependent thickness change. Statistical significance was set at ? = 0.05 using 2-tailed tests. RESULTS:Cortical atrophy was significantly associated with radiation dose in the entorhinal (P=.01) and inferior parietal ROIs (P=.02). By contrast, no significant radiation dose-dependent effect was found in the primary cortex ROIs (pericalcarine and paracentral lobule). In the whole-cortex analysis, 9 regions showed significant radiation dose-dependent atrophy, including areas responsible for memory, attention, and executive function (P?.002). CONCLUSIONS:Areas of cerebral cortex important for higher-order cognition may be most vulnerable to radiation-related atrophy. This is consistent with clinical observations that brain radiation patients experience deficits in domains of memory, executive function, and attention. Correlations of regional cortical atrophy with domain-specific cognitive functioning in prospective trials are warranted.
Project description:Tau pathology has been associated with neuronal loss at autopsy, but the temporal evolution of tau pathology and atrophy remains unclear. Here, we investigate the association between cross-sectional AV-1451-PET as a marker of tau pathology and cortical thickness cross-sectionally. We also investigated retrospective rates of cortical thinning over the three years preceding the AV-1451 scan in a clinically normal cohort of 103 older adults from the Harvard Aging Brain Study. Tau measurements were Geometric Transfer Matrix partial volume corrected standardized uptake value ratios (SUVRs) with a cerebellar gray reference region. Thirty-four FreeSurfer-defined cortical regions of interest (ROIs) were used for both thickness and AV-1451 in each hemisphere, with seven additional volumetric ROIs. We examined "local" relationships between AV-1451 and cortical thickness in the same ROI, as well as inferior temporal AV-1451 and all thickness ROIs. All models included baseline age and sex, both interacting with time in retrospective longitudinal models, as covariates. Cross-sectional models controlled for the number of days between the two scans. Cross-sectional local comparisons revealed significant associations between elevated AV-1451 and thinner cortical ROIs predominantly in temporal regions, while analyses associating inferior temporal AV-1451 with all cortical ROIs showed a widespread pattern of significant relationships, which was strongest in temporal and parietal cortices. In our retrospective longitudinal analyses, we saw significant relationships in temporal and parietal regions. Significant local relationships were seen in right superior temporal, middle temporal, temporal pole, and fusiform, as well as the left cuneus and banks of the left superior temporal sulcus. Significant relationships between inferior temporal AV-1451 and faster thinning were observed in right temporal regions (middle temporal and fusiform) and bilateral parahippocampal cortices. We observed significant negative relationships between local and inferior temporal AV-1451 signal and both cross-sectional cortical thickness and rates of thinning in lateral and medial temporal regions. This is an important early step toward elucidating the relationship between tau pathology and retrospective longitudinal atrophy in aging and preclinical AD.
Project description:Cortical thickness reductions in prefrontal and temporal cortices have been repeatedly observed in patients with schizophrenia. However, it remains unclear whether regional variations in cortical thickness may be attributable to disease-related or genetic-liability factors.The structural magnetic resonance imaging data of 48 adult-onset schizophrenia patients, 66 first-degree non-psychotic relatives of schizophrenia patients, 27 community comparison (CC) probands and 77 CC relatives were examined using cortical pattern matching methods to map and compare highly localized changes in cortical gray matter thickness between groups defined by biological risk for schizophrenia.Schizophrenia patients showed marked cortical thinning primarily in frontal and temporal cortices when compared to unrelated CC probands. Results were similar, though less pronounced when patients were compared with their non-psychotic relatives. Cortical thickness reductions observed in unaffected relatives compared to age-similar CC relatives suggestive of schizophrenia-related genetic liability were marginal, surviving correction for the left parahippocampal gyrus and inferior occipital cortex only.Observations of pronounced fronto/temporal cortical thinning in schizophrenia patients replicate prior findings. The lack of marked cortical thickness alterations in non-psychotic relatives of patients, suggests that disease processes are primary contributors toward cortical thickness reductions in the disorder. However, genetic factors may have a larger influence on abnormalities in the medial temporal lobe.
Project description:Although schizophrenia is characterized by gray matter (GM) abnormalities, particularly in the prefrontal and temporal cortices, it is unclear whether cerebral cortical GM is abnormal in individuals at ultra-high-risk (UHR) for psychosis. We addressed this issue by studying cortical thickness in this group with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). We measured cortical thickness of 29 individuals with no family history of psychosis at UHR, 31 patients with schizophrenia, and 29 healthy matched control subjects using automated surface-based analysis of structural MRI data. Hemispheric mean and regional cortical thickness were significantly different according to the stage of the disease. Significant cortical differences across these 3 groups were found in the distributed area of cerebral cortices. UHR group showed significant cortical thinning in the prefrontal cortex, anterior cingulate cortex, inferior parietal cortex, parahippocampal cortex, and superior temporal gyrus compared with healthy control subjects. Significant cortical thinning in schizophrenia group relative to UHR group was found in all the regions described above in addition with posterior cingulate cortex, insular cortex, and precentral cortex. These changes were more pronounced in the schizophrenia group compared with the control subjects. These findings suggest that UHR is associated with cortical thinning in regions that correspond to the structural abnormalities found in schizophrenia. These structural abnormalities might reflect functional decline at the prodromal stage of schizophrenia, and there may be progressive thinning of GM cortex over time.
Project description:Schizophrenia is associated with cortical thickness (CT) deficits and breakdown in white matter microstructure. Whether these pathological processes are related remains unclear. We used multimodal neuroimaging to investigate the relationship between regional cortical thinning and breakdown in adjacent infracortical white matter as a function of age and illness duration. Structural magnetic resonance and diffusion images were acquired in 218 schizophrenia patients and 167 age-matched healthy controls to map CT and fractional anisotropy in regionally adjacent infracortical white matter at various cortical depths. We found a robust and reproducible relationship between thickness and anisotropy deficits, which were inversely correlated across cortical regions (r = -.5, P < .0001): the most anisotropic infracortical white matter was found adjacent to regions with extensive cortical thinning. This pattern was evident in early (20 y: r = -.3, P = .005) and middle life (30 y: r = -.4, P = .004, 40 y: r = -.3, P = .04), but not beyond 50 years (P > .05). Frontal pathology contributed most to this pattern, with cortical thinning in patients compared to controls at all ages (P < .05); in contrast to initially elevated frontal white matter anisotropy in patients at 30 years, followed by rapid white matter decline with age (rate of annual decline; patients: 0.0012, controls 0.0006, P < .001). Our findings point to pathological dependencies between gray and white matter in a large sample of schizophrenia patients. We argue that elevated frontal anisotropy reflects regionally-specific, compensatory responses to cortical thinning, which are eventually overwhelmed with increasing illness duration.
Project description:Deficit schizophrenia (DS) is a homogeneous subtype of schizophrenia characterized by primary and enduring negative symptoms. However, the underlying neuroanatomical substrate of DS remains poorly understood. Here, we collected high-resolution structural magnetic resonance images of 115 participants, including 33 DS patients, 41 nondeficit schizophrenia (NDS) patients, and 41 healthy controls (HCs), and calculated the cortical thickness and surface area for statistical comparisons among the 3 groups. Relative to the control group, both the DS and NDS groups exhibited convergent cortical thinning in the bilateral inferior frontal gyri and the left superior temporal gyrus. The cortical thinning in the right inferior frontal cortex in the patient group was significantly positively correlated with declines of cognitive flexibility and visuospatial memory. Importantly, compared to the NDS group, the DS group exhibited a more widespread cortical thinning pattern, with the most significant differences in the left temporo-parietal junction area. For the surface area measurement, no significant group differences were observed. Collectively, these results highlight the convergent and divergent cortical thinning patterns between patients with DS and NDS, which provide critical insights into the neuroanatomical substrate of DS and improve our understanding of the biological mechanism that contributes to the negative symptoms and cognitive impairments in DS.
Project description:Non-psychotic individuals at increased risk for schizophrenia show alterations in fronto-striatal dopamine signaling and cortical gray matter maturation reminiscent of those seen in schizophrenia. It remains unclear however if variations in dopamine signaling influence rates of structural cortical maturation in typically developing individuals, and whether such influences are disrupted in patients with schizophrenia and their non-psychotic siblings. We sought to address these issues by relating a functional Val?Met polymorphism within the gene encoding catechol-o-methyltransferase (COMT)-a key enzymatic regulator of cortical dopamine levels-to longitudinal structural neuroimaging measures of cortical gray matter thickness. We included a total of 792 magnetic resonance imaging brain scans, acquired between ages 9 and 22 years from patients with childhood-onset schizophrenia (COS), their non-psychotic full siblings, and matched healthy controls. Whereas greater Val allele dose (which confers enhanced dopamine catabolism and is proposed to aggravate cortical deficits in schizophrenia) accelerated adolescent cortical thinning in both schizophrenia probands and their siblings, it attenuated cortical thinning in healthy controls. This similarity between COS patients and their siblings was accompanied by differences between the two groups in the timing and spatial distribution of disrupted COMT influences on cortical maturation. Consequently, whereas greater Val "dose" conferred persistent dorsolateral prefrontal cortical deficits amongst affected probands by adulthood, cortical thickness differences associated with varying Val dose in non-psychotic siblings resolved over the age-range studied. These findings suggest that cortical abnormalities in pedigrees affected by schizophrenia may be contributed to by a disruption of dopaminergic infleunces on cortical maturation.
Project description:The diagnosis of schizophrenia is thought to embrace several distinct subgroups. The manifold entities in a single clinical patient group increase the variance of biological measures, deflate the group-level estimates of causal factors, and mask the presence of treatment effects. However, reliable neurobiological boundaries to differentiate these subgroups remain elusive. Since cortical thinning is a well-established feature in schizophrenia, we investigated if individuals (patients and healthy controls) with similar patterns of regional cortical thickness form naturally occurring morphological subtypes. K-means algorithm clustering was applied to regional cortical thickness values obtained from 256 structural MRI scans (179 patients with schizophrenia and 77 healthy controls [HCs]). GAP statistics revealed three clusters with distinct regional thickness patterns. The specific patterns of cortical thinning, clinical characteristics, and cognitive function of each clustered subgroup were assessed. The three clusters based on thickness patterns comprised of a morphologically impoverished subgroup (25% patients, 1% HCs), an intermediate subgroup (47% patients, 46% HCs), and an intact subgroup (28% patients, 53% HCs). The differences of clinical features among three clusters pertained to age-of-onset, N-back performance, duration exposure to treatment, total burden of positive symptoms, and severity of delusions. Particularly, the morphologically impoverished group had deficits in N-back performance and less severe positive symptom burden. The data-driven neuroimaging approach illustrates the occurrence of morphologically separable subgroups in schizophrenia, with distinct clinical characteristics. We infer that the anatomical heterogeneity of schizophrenia arises from both pathological deviance and physiological variance. We advocate using MRI-guided stratification for clinical trials as well as case-control investigations in schizophrenia.
Project description:Schizophrenia is an etiologically and clinically heterogeneous disorder. Although neuroimaging studies have revealed brain alterations in schizophrenia, most studies have assumed that the disorder is a single entity, neglecting the diversity of alterations observed in the disorder. The current study sought to explore the distinct patterns of altered cortical thickness in patients with schizophrenia and healthy individuals using a data-driven approach. Unsupervised clustering using self-organizing maps followed by a K-means algorithm was applied to regional cortical thickness data in 108 schizophrenia patients and 121 healthy controls. After clustering, the clinical characteristics and cortical thickness patterns of each cluster were assessed. Unsupervised clustering revealed that a 6-cluster solution was the most appropriate in this sample. There was substantial overlap between the patterns of cortical thickness in schizophrenia patients and healthy controls, although the distributions of the patients and controls differed across the clusters. The patterns of altered cortical thickness in schizophrenia exhibited cluster-specific features; patients within a cluster exhibited the most extensive cortical thinning, particularly in the medial prefrontal and temporal regions, while those in other clusters exhibited reduced cortical thickness in the medial frontal region or temporal lobe. Furthermore, in the schizophrenia group, extensive cortical thinning was correlated with a higher dosage of antipsychotic medication, while preserved cortical thickness appeared to be linked to less negative symptoms. This data-driven neuroimaging approach revealed distinct patterns of cortical thinning in schizophrenia, possibly reflecting the etiological heterogeneity of the disorder.
Project description:Structural imaging studies have consistently found reduced gray matter thickness of the cerebral cortex in schizophrenia, a finding that is evident in first episode psychosis and may be progressive in some cases. Although genetic predisposition and medication effects may contribute to cortical thinning, we hypothesize that the cumulative effects of stress may represent an environmental factor impacting brain morphology in schizophrenia. We examined the relationship between allostatic load, an index of peripheral biomarkers representing the cumulative effects of stress, and cortical thickness. Allostatic load was calculated for 44 patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorders (SSD) and 33 normal controls (NC) based on 13 cardiovascular, neuroendocrine, immune, and metabolic measurements. Controlling for age, SSD had significantly elevated allostatic load as compared with NC (p=0.008). Controlling for age, whole brain average cortical thickness was lower in SSD patients compared to NC (p=0.008). However, once allostatic load was accounted for, the group difference in cortical thickness became marginal (p=0.058). Exploratory analyses on subcomponents of allostatic load suggested that elevated immune marker C-reactive protein, stress hormones, and cardiovascular indices within allostatic load were more strongly associated with reduced cortical thickness in SSD. In NC, only the association between immune marker C-reactive protein and cortical thickness was replicated. These results support the hypothesis that allostatic load may account for some of the gray matter deficits observed in schizophrenia. Among the allostatic indices, the inflammatory mechanism appears particularly relevant to cortical thickness in both schizophrenia patients and normal controls.