Date Published:2005 Jul 15
Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) studies in schizophrenia demonstrate lower anisotropic diffusion within white matter due either to loss of coherence of white matter fiber tracts, to changes in the number and/or density of interconnecting fiber tracts, or to changes in myelination, although methodology as well as localization of such changes differ between studies. The aim of this study is to localize and to specify further DTI abnormalities in schizophrenia by combining DTI with magnetization transfer imaging (MTI), a technique sensitive to myelin and axonal alterations in order to increase specificity of DTI findings. 21 chronic schizophrenics and 26 controls were scanned using Line-Scan-Diffusion-Imaging and T1-weighted techniques with and without a saturation pulse (MT). Diffusion information was used to normalize co-registered maps of fractional anisotropy (FA) and magnetization transfer ratio (MTR) to a study-specific template, using the multi-channel daemon algorithm, designed specifically to deal with multidirectional tensor information. Diffusion anisotropy was decreased in schizophrenia in the following brain regions: the fornix, the corpus callosum, bilaterally in the cingulum bundle, bilaterally in the superior occipito-frontal fasciculus, bilaterally in the internal capsule, in the right inferior occipito-frontal fasciculus and the left arcuate fasciculus. MTR maps demonstrated changes in the corpus callosum, fornix, right internal capsule, and the superior occipito-frontal fasciculus bilaterally; however, no changes were noted in the anterior cingulum bundle, the left internal capsule, the arcuate fasciculus, or inferior occipito-frontal fasciculus. In addition, the right posterior cingulum bundle showed MTR but not FA changes in schizophrenia. These findings suggest that, while some of the diffusion abnormalities in schizophrenia are likely due to abnormal coherence, or organization of the fiber tracts, some of these abnormalities may, in fact, be attributed to or coincide with myelin/axonal disruption.