Age-related brain trajectories in schizophrenia: A systematic review of structural MRI studies

Chiara Chiapponi, Fabrizio Piras, Sabrina Fagioli, Federica Piras, Carlo Caltagirone, Gianfranco Spalletta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Using the Pubmed database, we performed a detailed literature search for structural magnetic resonance imaging studies on patients with schizophrenia, investigating the relationship between macroscopic and microscopic structural parameters and age, to delineate an age-related trajectory. Twenty-six studies were considered for the review, from January 2000 to June 2012. Research results are heterogeneous because of the multifactorial features of schizophrenia and the multiplicity of the methodological approaches adopted. Some areas, within the amygdala-hippocampus complex, which are affected early in life by schizophrenia, age in a physiological way. Other regions, such as the superior temporal gyrus, appear already impaired at the onset of symptoms, undergo a worsening in the acute phase but later stabilize, progressing physiologically over years. Finally, there are regions, such as the uncinate fasciculus, which are not altered early in life, but are affected around the onset of schizophrenia, with their impairment continuously worsening over time. Further extensive longitudinal studies are needed to understand the timing and the possible degenerative characteristics of structural impairment associated with schizophrenia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-93
Number of pages11
JournalPsychiatry Research - Neuroimaging
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Nov 30 2013


  • Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI)
  • Longitudinal studies
  • Neurodevelopment
  • Progression
  • Volume

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)


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