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Pituitary Volume in Schizophrenia Spectrum Disorders

1Psychiatry Neuroimaging Laboratory, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.
2Psychiatry and Pediatrics, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada.
3Department of Psychiatry, Beth Israel-Deaconess Hospital-MMCH, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.
Elsevier Science
Publication Date:
Schizophr Res
Volume Number:
Issue Number:
Schizophr Res. 2013 May;146(1-3):301-7.
PubMed ID:
Schizophrenia, First Episode, Schizotypal, Pituitary volume, MRI
Appears in Collections:
K05 MH070047/MH/NIMH NIH HHS/United States
P50 MH080272/MH/NIMH NIH HHS/United States
R01 MH040799/MH/NIMH NIH HHS/United States
R01 MH050740/MH/NIMH NIH HHS/United States
R01 MH052807/MH/NIMH NIH HHS/United States
R01 MH064023/MH/NIMH NIH HHS/United States
Generated Citation:
Romo-Nava F., Hoogenboom W.S., Pelavin P.E., Alvarado J.L., Bobrow L.H., MacMaster F.P., Keshavan M., McCarley R.W., Shenton M.E. Pituitary Volume in Schizophrenia Spectrum Disorders. Schizophr Res. 2013 May;146(1-3):301-7. PMID: 23522905. PMCID: PMC3760333.
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INTRODUCTION: There is converging evidence supporting hyperactivity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis in schizophrenia spectrum disorders (SSD), such as schizotypal personality disorder (SPD), first-episode schizophrenia (FESZ) and chronic schizophrenia (CHSZ). Such an aberrant HPA activity might have volumetric consequences on the pituitary gland. However, previous magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies assessing pituitary volume (PV) in SSD are conflicting. The main objective of this study was to examine further PV in SSD. METHODS: PV were manually traced on structural MRIs in 137 subjects, including subjects with SPD (n = 40), FESZ (n = 15), CHSZ (n = 15), and HC (n = 67). We used an ANCOVA to test PV between groups and gender while controlling for inter-subject variability in age, years of education, socioeconomic status, and whole brain volume. RESULTS: Overall, women had larger PV than men, and within the male sample all SSD subjects had smaller PV than HC, statistically significant only for the SPD group. In addition, dose of medication, illness duration and age of onset were not associated with PV. CONCLUSION: Chronic untreated HPA hyperactivity might account for smaller PV in SPD subjects, whereas the absence of PV changes in FESZ and CHSZ patients might be related to the normalizing effects of antipsychotics on PV. SPD studies offer a way to examine HPA related alterations in SSD without the potential confounds of medication effects.

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