Amygdala–hippocampal shape and cortical thickness abnormalities in first-episode schizophrenia and mania

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Abstract

Background

Abnormalities in cortical thickness and subcortical structures have been studied in schizophrenia but little is known about corresponding changes in mania and brain structural differences between these two psychiatric conditions, especially early in the stage of the illness. In this study we aimed to compare cortical thickness and shape of the amygdala–hippocampal complex in first-episode schizophrenia (FES) and mania (FEM).

Method

Structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was performed on 28 FES patients, 28 FEM patients and 28 healthy control subjects who were matched for age, gender and handedness.

Results

Overall, the shape of the amygdala was deformed in both patient groups, relative to controls. Compared to FEM patients, FES patients had significant inward shape deformation in the left hippocampal tail, right hippocampal body and a small region in the right amygdala. Cortical thinning was more widespread in FES patients, with significant differences found in the temporal brain regions when compared with FEM and controls.

Conclusions

Significant differences were observed between the two groups of patients with FES and FEM in terms of the hippocampal shape and cortical thickness in the temporal region, highlighting that distinguishable brain structural changes are present early in the course of schizophrenia and mania.

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