In vivo investigation of white matter pathology in schizophrenia with magnetisation transfer imaging
- aInstitute of Neurology, London, UK, bImperial College School of Medicine, Charing Cross Campus, London, UK
- Dr J Foong, NMR Research Unit, Institute of Neurology, Queen Square, London WC1N 3BG, UK
- Received 22 March 1999
- Revised 2 August 1999
- Accepted 20 August 1999
OBJECTIVES This study is the first to use magnetisation transfer imaging (MTI), a technique sensitive to myelin and axonal abnormalities, to investigate the white matter in vivo in patients with schizophrenia.
METHODS MTI was performed in 25 schizophrenic patients and 30 healthy controls. A region of interest (ROI) approach was used to obtain magnetisation transfer ratios (MTRs) in several regions of cerebral white matter.
RESULTS MTR values were significantly reduced in the right and left temporal regions in schizophrenic patients compared with controls (p<0.001). Clinical variables such as age, duration of symptoms, schizophrenic symptomatology, and soft neurological signs did not predict this reduction in MTR. There were no MTR abnormalities in the other regions sampled. However, the correlation between the left and right frontal MTR values was marginally significantly different in schizophrenic patients compared with controls suggesting that subtle differences in interhemispheric connections may be present.
CONCLUSIONS Subtle white matter pathology, most likely related to myelin and axonal abnormalities, can be detected in the temporal lobes in schizophrenic patients. MTI may be a useful tool in investigating the white matter in schizophrenia.