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Grey matter volume and cortical thickness represent two complementary aspects of brain structure. Several studies have described reductions in grey matter volume in people at ultra-high risk (UHR) of psychosis; however, little is known about cortical thickness in this group. The aim of the present study was to investigate cortical thickness alterations in UHR subjects and compare individuals who subsequently did and did not develop psychosis.
We examined magnetic resonance imaging data collected at four different scanning sites. The UHR subjects were followed up for at least 2 years. Subsequent to scanning, 50 UHR subjects developed psychosis and 117 did not. Cortical thickness was examined in regions previously identified as sites of neuroanatomical alterations in UHR subjects, using voxel-based cortical thickness.
At baseline UHR subjects, compared with controls, showed reduced cortical thickness in the right parahippocampal gyrus (p < 0.05, familywise error corrected). There were no significant differences in cortical thickness between the UHR subjects who later developed psychosis and those who did not.
These data suggest that UHR symptomatology is characterized by alterations in the thickness of the medial temporal cortex. We did not find evidence that the later progression to psychosis was linked to additional alterations in cortical thickness, although we cannot exclude the possibility that the study lacked sufficient power to detect such differences.
Structural brain abnormalities have been described in individuals with an
at-risk mental state for psychosis. However, the neuroanatomical
underpinnings of the early and late at-risk mental state relative to
clinical outcome remain unclear.
To investigate grey matter volume abnormalities in participants in a
putatively early or late at-risk mental state relative to their
prospective clinical outcome.
Voxel-based morphometry of magnetic resonance imaging data from 20 people
with a putatively early at-risk mental state (ARMS–E group) and 26 people
with a late at-risk mental state (ARMS–L group) as well as from 15
participants with at-risk mental states with subsequent disease
transition (ARMS–T group) and 18 participants without subsequent disease
transition (ARMS–NT group) were compared with 75 healthy volunteers.
Compared with healthy controls, ARMS–L participants had grey matter
volume losses in frontotemporolimbic structures. Participants in the
ARMS–E group showed bilateral temporolimbic alterations and subtle
prefrontal abnormalities. Participants in the ARMS–T group had prefrontal
alterations relative to those in the ARMS–NT group and in the healthy
controls that overlapped with the findings in the ARMS–L group.
Brain alterations associated with the early at-risk mental state may
relate to an elevated susceptibility to psychosis, whereas alterations
underlying the late at-risk mental state may indicate a subsequent
transition to psychosis.
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