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Is there an association between cortical thickness, age of onset, and duration of illness in schizophrenia?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  06 June 2013

Idaiane Batista Assunção Leme*
Affiliation:
Laboratório Interdisciplinar de Neurociências Clínicas (LiNC), Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP), São Paulo, Brazil
Ary Gadelha
Affiliation:
Laboratório Interdisciplinar de Neurociências Clínicas (LiNC) and Programa de Esquizofrenia (PROESQ), Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP), São Paulo, Brazil
João Ricardo Sato
Affiliation:
Center of Mathematics, Computation and Cognition, Universidade Federal do ABC (UFABC), Santo André, Brazil
Vanessa Kiyomi Ota
Affiliation:
Laboratório Interdisciplinar de Neurociências Clínicas (LiNC) and Morphology and Genetics Department, Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP), São Paulo, Brazil
Jair de Jesus Mari
Affiliation:
Psychiatry Department, Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP), São Paulo, Brazil
Maria Isabel Melaragno
Affiliation:
Morphology and Genetics Department, Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP), São Paulo, Brazil
Marilia de Arruda Cardoso Smith
Affiliation:
Morphology and Genetics Department, Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP), São Paulo, Brazil
Sintia Iole Nogueira Belangero
Affiliation:
Laboratório Interdisciplinar de Neurociências Clínicas (LiNC) and Morphology and Genetics Department, Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP), São Paulo, Brazil
Rodrigo Affonseca Bressan
Affiliation:
Laboratório Interdisciplinar de Neurociências Clínicas (LiNC) and Programa de Esquizofrenia (PROESQ), Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP), São Paulo, Brazil
Andrea Parolin Jackowski
Affiliation:
Laboratório Interdisciplinar de Neurociências Clínicas (LiNC), Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP), São Paulo, Brazil
*
*Address for correspondence: Idaiane Batista Assunção Leme, Laboratório Interdisciplinar de Neurociências Clínicas (LiNC), Departamento de Psiquiatria, Universidade Federal de São Paulo, Rua Pedro de Toledo, 669 - 3° andar (fundos), Vila Clementino, São Paulo, SP CEP: 04039-032, Brazil. (Email idaiane@gmail.com)

Abstract

Objective

Several studies have shown cortical volume loss in frontotemporal regions in schizophrenia patients, and it is known that these reductions may be associated with disease symptoms and cognitive deficits. The aim of this study was to investigate possible cortical thickness correlations in frontotemporal regions in relation to age at onset and duration of illness.

Methods

One hundred forty-eight schizophrenia patients (97 males; age and SD 36.30 ± 10.06) and 87 (57 males; age and SD 36.48 ± 10.10) age-matched healthy subjects underwent a brain MRI scan. Cortical segmentation and surface statistical analysis were performed using the FreeSurfer software package. Results were corrected for multiple comparisons using the Monte Carlo method considering a cluster-corrected Type I Error of 5%.

Results

Compared to controls, schizophrenia patients presented significant cortical thinning in the frontotemporal, parietal, and occipital cortices. No correlation between prefrontal cortex thickness and duration of illness in patients with schizophrenia or between frontotemporal cortical thickness and age at onset was found. However, a significant interaction between age and diagnosis was observed on frontal cortical thickness with patients presenting a thinner cortex than expected for age.

Conclusion

Although there was no correlation between age of onset and duration of illness with brain volume, our findings suggest that there is an accelerated cortical loss in schizophrenia, thus reinforcing the progressive processes of the disease.

Type
Original Research
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2013 

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Footnotes

We would like to thank Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq, Brazil), Coordenadoria de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Ensino Superior (CAPES, Brazil), and Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo (FAPESP, Brazil; grant number n° 07/58736-1) for the financial support. We also thank the patients, their families, psychiatrists, psychologists, and nurses for their participation in this study.

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