Fiber tractography reveals disruption of temporal lobe white matter tracts in schizophrenia

Owen R. Phillips, Keith H. Nuechterlein, Kristi A. Clark, Liberty S. Hamilton, Robert F. Asarnow, Nathan S. Hageman, Arthur W. Toga, Katherine L. Narr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) studies have demonstrated abnormal anisotropic diffusion in schizophrenia. However, examining data with low spatial resolution and/or a low number of gradient directions and limitations associated with analysis approaches sensitive to registration confounds may have contributed to mixed findings concerning the regional specificity and direction of results. This study examined three major white matter tracts connecting lateral and medial temporal lobe regions with neocortical association regions widely implicated in systems-level functional and structural disturbances in schizophrenia. Using DTIstudio, a previously validated regions of interest tractography method was applied to 30 direction diffusion weighted imaging data collected from demographically similar schizophrenia (n = 23) and healthy control subjects (n = 22). The diffusion tensor was computed at each voxel after intra-subject registration of diffusion-weighted images. Three-dimensional tract reconstruction was performed using the Fiber Assignment by Continuous Tracking (FACT) algorithm. Tractography results showed reduced fractional anisotropy (FA) of the arcuate fasciculi (AF) and inferior longitudinal fasciculi (ILF) in patients compared to controls. FA changes within the right ILF were negatively correlated with measures of thinking disorder. Reduced volume of the left AF was also observed in patients. These results, which avoid registration issues associated with voxel-based analyses of DTI data, support that fiber pathways connecting lateral and medial temporal lobe regions with neocortical regions are compromised in schizophrenia. Disruptions of connectivity within these pathways may potentially contribute to the disturbances of memory, language, and social cognitive processing that characterize the disorder.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30-38
Number of pages9
JournalSchizophrenia Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2009


  • Arcuate fasciculus
  • Diffusion tensor imaging
  • Fractional anisotropy
  • Inferior longitudinal fasciculus
  • Uncinate fasciculus
  • White matter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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