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Cortical Volume Differences in Subjects at Risk for Psychosis Are Driven by Surface Area


Buechler, Roman; Wotruba, Diana; Michels, Lars; Theodoridou, Anastasia; Metzler, Sibylle; Walitza, Susanne; Hänggi, Jürgen; Kollias, Spyros; Rössler, Wulf; Heekeren, Karsten (2020). Cortical Volume Differences in Subjects at Risk for Psychosis Are Driven by Surface Area. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 46(6):1511-1519.

Abstract

In subjects at risk for psychosis, the studies on gray matter volume (GMV) predominantly reported volume loss compared with healthy controls (CON). However, other important morphological measurements such as cortical surface area (CSA) and cortical thickness (CT) were not systematically compared. So far, samples mostly comprised subjects at genetic risk or at clinical risk fulfilling an ultra-high risk (UHR) criterion. No studies comparing UHR subjects with at-risk subjects showing only basic symptoms (BS) investigated the differences in CSA or CT. Therefore, we aimed to unravel the contribution of the 2 morphometrical measures constituting the cortical volume (CV) and to test whether these groups inhere different morphometric features. We conducted a surface-based morphometric analysis in 34 CON, 46 BS, and 39 UHR to examine between-group differences in CV, CSA, and CT vertex-wise across the whole cortex. Compared with BS and CON, UHR individuals presented increased CV in frontal and parietal regions, which was driven by larger CSA. These groups did not differ in CT. Yet, at-risk subjects who later developed schizophrenia showed thinning in the occipital cortex. Furthermore, BS presented increased CSA compared with CON. Our results suggest that volumetric differences in UHR subjects are driven by CSA while CV loss in converters seems to be based on cortical thinning. We attribute the larger CSA in UHR to aberrant pruning representing a vulnerability to develop psychotic symptoms reflected in different levels of vulnerability for BS and UHR, and cortical thinning to a presumably stress-related cortical decomposition.

Abstract

In subjects at risk for psychosis, the studies on gray matter volume (GMV) predominantly reported volume loss compared with healthy controls (CON). However, other important morphological measurements such as cortical surface area (CSA) and cortical thickness (CT) were not systematically compared. So far, samples mostly comprised subjects at genetic risk or at clinical risk fulfilling an ultra-high risk (UHR) criterion. No studies comparing UHR subjects with at-risk subjects showing only basic symptoms (BS) investigated the differences in CSA or CT. Therefore, we aimed to unravel the contribution of the 2 morphometrical measures constituting the cortical volume (CV) and to test whether these groups inhere different morphometric features. We conducted a surface-based morphometric analysis in 34 CON, 46 BS, and 39 UHR to examine between-group differences in CV, CSA, and CT vertex-wise across the whole cortex. Compared with BS and CON, UHR individuals presented increased CV in frontal and parietal regions, which was driven by larger CSA. These groups did not differ in CT. Yet, at-risk subjects who later developed schizophrenia showed thinning in the occipital cortex. Furthermore, BS presented increased CSA compared with CON. Our results suggest that volumetric differences in UHR subjects are driven by CSA while CV loss in converters seems to be based on cortical thinning. We attribute the larger CSA in UHR to aberrant pruning representing a vulnerability to develop psychotic symptoms reflected in different levels of vulnerability for BS and UHR, and cortical thinning to a presumably stress-related cortical decomposition.

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Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Neuroradiology
04 Faculty of Medicine > Psychiatric University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, and Psychosomatics
04 Faculty of Medicine > Psychiatric University Hospital Zurich > Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:1 December 2020
Deposited On:03 Jun 2020 10:51
Last Modified:01 Jul 2021 16:09
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN:0586-7614
OA Status:Green
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1093/schbul/sbaa066
PubMed ID:32463880

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