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Diffusion Tensor Imaging Study of the Fornix in First Episode Schizophrenia and in Healthy Controls

1Psychiatry Neuroimaging Laboratory, Departments of Psychiatry and Radiology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA. Electronic address:
2Surgical Planning Laboratory, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.
Elsevier Science
Publication Date:
Schizophr Res
Volume Number:
Issue Number:
Schizophr Res. 2014 Jul;156(2-3):157-60.
PubMed ID:
Axial diffusivity, Diffusion tensor imaging, First episode schizophrenia, Fornix, Fractional anisotropy, Radial diffusivity, Trace
Appears in Collections:
P50 MH080272/MH/NIMH NIH HHS/United States
R01 MH050740/MH/NIMH NIH HHS/United States
T32 MH016259/MH/NIMH NIH HHS/United States
UL1 RR025758/RR/NCRR NIH HHS/United States
P41 EB015902/EB/NIBIB NIH HHS/United States
Generated Citation:
Fitzsimmons J., Hamoda H.M., Swisher T., Terry D., Rosenberger G., Seidman L.J., Goldstein J., Mesholam-Gately R., Petryshen T., Wojcik J., Kikinis R., Kubicki M. Diffusion Tensor Imaging Study of the Fornix in First Episode Schizophrenia and in Healthy Controls. Schizophr Res. 2014 Jul;156(2-3):157-60. PMID: 24837684. PMCID: PMC4080801.
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BACKGROUND: The fornix is a compact bundle of white matter fibers that project from the hippocampus to the mamillary bodies and septal nuclei. Its association with memory, as well as with symptoms in schizophrenia, has been reported in chronic schizophrenia. The purpose of this study is to determine whether or not fornix abnormalities are evident at the onset of schizophrenia. METHODS: Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and DT tractography were used to evaluate the fornix in 21 patients with first episode schizophrenia (16 males/5 females) and 22 healthy controls (13 males/9 females). Groups were matched on age, gender, parental socioeconomic status, education and handedness. Fractional anisotropy (FA), a measure of white matter integrity, radial diffusivity (RD), thought to reflect myelin integrity, trace, a possible marker of atrophy or cell loss, and axial diffusivity (AD), thought to reflect axonal integrity, were averaged over the entire tract extracted by means of DT tractography, and used to investigate fornix abnormalities in first episode schizophrenia compared with healthy controls. RESULTS: Significant group differences were found between first episode patients and controls for FA (p=0.0001), RD (p=0.001) and trace (p=0.006). CONCLUSION: These findings suggest abnormalities in the fornix in the early stages of schizophrenia, and further suggest that white matter abnormalities, which are apparent in the early course of the disease, may reflect myelin disturbances.

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