Sulcogyral patterns and morphological abnormalities of the orbitofrontal cortex in psychosis

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Three types of OFC sulcogyral patterns have been identified in the general population. The distribution of these three types has been found altered in individuals at genetic risk of psychosis, first episode psychosis (FEP) and chronic schizophrenia. The aim of this study was to replicate and extend previous research by additionally investigating: intermediate and posterior orbital sulci, cortical thickness, and degree of gyrification/folding of the OFC, in a large sample of FEP patients and healthy controls. OFC pattern type was classified based on a method previously devised, using T1-weighted magnetic resonance images. Cortical thickness and local gyrification indices were calculated using FreeSurfer. Occurrence of Type I pattern was decreased and Type II pattern was increased in FEP patients for the right hemisphere. Interestingly, controls displayed an OFC pattern type distribution that was disparate to that previously reported. Significantly fewer intermediate orbital sulci were observed in the left hemisphere of patients. Grey matter thickness of orbitofrontal sulci was reduced bilaterally, and left hemisphere reductions were related to OFC pattern type in patients. There was no relationship between pattern type and degree of OFC gyrification. An interaction was found between the number of intermediate orbital sulci and OFC gyrification; however this group difference was specific to only the small subsample of people with three intermediate orbital sulci. Given that cortical folding is largely determined by birth, our findings suggest that Type II pattern may be a neurodevelopmental risk marker while Type I pattern may be somewhat protective. This finding, along with compromised orbitofrontal sulci thickness, may reflect early abnormalities in cortical development and point toward a possible endophenotypic risk marker of schizophrenia-spectrum disorders.


▪ Orbitofrontal sylcogyral folding pattern distributions are altered in psychosis. ▪ Type II pattern in both hemispheres led to a five-fold risk of psychosis. ▪ Psychosis patients have fewer intermediate orbital sulci. ▪ Orbitofrontal sulci thickness was reduced in patients and related to pattern Type I. ▪ Patients with three intermediate orbital sulci had a higher mean gyrification index.

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