White matter abnormalities associated with auditory hallucinations in schizophrenia: a combined study of voxel-based analyses of diffusion tensor imaging and structural magnetic resonance imaging

Jeong-Ho Seok, Hae-Jeong Park, Ji-Won Chun, Seung-Koo Lee, Hyun Sang Cho, Jun Soo Kwon, Jae-Jin Kim
Psychiatry Research 2007 November 15, 156 (2): 93-104
White matter (WM) abnormalities in schizophrenia may offer important clues to a better understanding of the disconnectivity associated with the disorder. The aim of this study was to elucidate a WM basis of auditory hallucinations in schizophrenia through the simultaneous investigation of WM tract integrity and WM density. Diffusion tensor images (DTIs) and structural T1 magnetic resonance images (MRIs) were taken from 15 hallucinating schizophrenic patients, 15 non-hallucinating schizophrenic patients and 22 normal controls. Voxel-based analyses and post-hoc region of interest analyses were obtained to compare the three groups on fractional anisotropy (FA) derived from DTI as well as WM density derived from structural MRIs. In both the hallucinating and non-hallucinating groups, FA of the WM regions was significantly decreased in the left superior longitudinal fasciculus (SLF), whereas WM density was significantly increased in the left inferior longitudinal fasciculus (ILF). The mean FA value of the left frontal part of the SLF was positively correlated with the severity score of auditory hallucinations in the hallucinating patient group. Our findings show that WM changes were mainly observed in the frontal and temporal areas, suggesting that disconnectivity in the left fronto-temporal area may contribute to the pathophysiology of schizophrenia. In addition, pathologic WM changes in this region may be an important step in the development of auditory hallucinations in schizophrenia.

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