Brain white matter microstructure in deficit and non-deficit subtypes of schizophrenia

Gianfranco Spalletta, Pietro De Rossi, Fabrizio Piras, Mariangela Iorio, Claudia Dacquino, Francesca Scanu, Paolo Girardi, Carlo Caltagirone, Brian Kirkpatrick, Chiara Chiapponi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Dividing schizophrenia into its deficit (SZD) and nondeficit (SZND) subtypes may help to identify specific and more homogeneous pathophysiological characteristics. Our aim was to define a whole brain voxelwise map specifically characterizing white matter tracts of schizophrenia patients with and without the deficit syndrome. We compared microstructural diffusion-related parameters as measured by diffusion tensor imaging in 21 SZD patients, 21 SZND patients, and 21 healthy controls, age- and gender-matched. Results showed that fractional anisotropy was reduced in the right precentral area in SZND patients, and in the left corona radiata of the schizophrenia group as a whole. Axial diffusivity was reduced in the left postcentral area of SZD patients and in the left cerebellum of the whole schizophrenia group. Radial diffusivity was increased in the left forceps minor of SZD patients, in the left internal capsule of SZND patients, and in the right inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus in the whole schizophrenia group. Mean diffusivity was increased from healthy controls to SZD patients to SZND patients in the right occipital lobe. In conclusion, SZD patients are not simply at the extreme end of a severity continuum of white matter disruption. Rather, the SZD and SZND subtypes are associated with distinct and specific brain microstructural anomalies that are consistent with their peculiar psychopathological dimensions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)252-261
Number of pages10
JournalPsychiatry Research - Neuroimaging
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 30 2015


  • Deficit syndrome
  • DTI
  • Neuroimaging
  • TBSS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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