Negative symptoms correlate with altered brain structural asymmetry in amygdala and superior temporal region in schizophrenia patients


Huang Zetao,Ruan Dun,Huang Bingjie,Zhou Tianhang,Shi Chuan,Yu Xin,Chan Raymond C. K.,Wang Yi,Pu Chengcheng


Negative symptoms play an important role in development and treatment of schizophrenia. However, brain changes relevant to negative symptoms are still unclear. This study examined brain structural abnormalities and their asymmetry in schizophrenia patients and the association with negative symptoms. Fifty-nine schizophrenia patients and 66 healthy controls undertook structural brain scans. Schizophrenia patients were further divided into predominant negative symptoms (PNS, n = 18) and non-PNS (n = 34) subgroups. Negative symptoms were assessed by the Negative Symptom Assessment (NSA). T1-weighted images were preprocessed with FreeSurfer to estimate subcortical volumes, cortical thickness and surface areas, asymmetry Index (AI) was then calculated. MANOVA was performed for group differences while partial correlations in patients were analyzed between altered brain structures and negative symptoms. Compared to healthy controls, schizophrenia patients exhibited thinner cortices in frontal and temporal regions, and decreased leftward asymmetry of superior temporal gyrus (STG) in cortical thickness. Patients with PNS exhibited increased rightward asymmetry of amygdala volumes than non-PNS subgroup. In patients, AI of cortical thickness in the STG was negatively correlated with NSA-Emotion scores (r = −0.30, p = 0.035), while AI of amygdala volume was negatively correlated with NSA-Communication (r = −0.30, p = 0.039) and NSA-Total scores (r = −0.30, p = 0.038). Our findings suggested schizophrenia patients exhibited cortical thinning and altered lateralization of brain structures. Emotion and communication dimensions of negative symptoms also correlated with the structural asymmetry of amygdala and superior temporal regions in schizophrenia patients.


Frontiers Media SA


Psychiatry and Mental health

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