Regional cortical thinning in young adults with schizophrenia but not psychotic or non-psychotic bipolar I disorder

Douglass Godwin, Kathryn I. Alpert, Lei Wang, Daniel Mamah*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Background: Schizophrenia shares some genetic risk and clinical symptoms with bipolar disorder. Clinical heterogeneity across subjects is thought to contribute to variable structural imaging findings across studies. The current study investigates cortical thickness in young adults diagnosed with schizophrenia or bipolar I disorder with a history of hyperthymic mania. We hypothesize that cortical thickness will be most similar between SCZ and the psychotic bipolar 1 disorder subtype. Methods: Patients with schizophrenia (n = 52), psychotic bipolar I disorder (PBD; n = 49) and non-psychotic bipolar I disorder (NPBD; n = 24) and healthy controls (n = 40) were scanned in a 3T Trio MRI. The thickness of 34 cortical regions was estimated with FreeSurfer, and analyzed using univariate analyses of variance. Relationships to psychotic (SAPS) and negative (SANS) symptoms were investigated using linear regression. Results: Cortical thickness showed significant group effects, after covarying for sex, age, and intracranial volume (p = 0.001). SCZ subjects had thinner paracentral, inferior parietal, supramarginal and fusiform cortices compared to CON. Caudal anterior cingulate cortical thickness was increased in SCZ, PBD and NPBD. Cortical thickness in PBD and NPBD were not significantly different from controls. Significant partial correlations were observed for SAPS severity with middle temporal (r = − 0.26; p = 0.001) and fusiform (− 0.26; p = 0.001) cortical thickness. Conclusions: Individuals with SCZ displayed significantly reduced cortical thickness in several cortical regions compared to both CON and bipolar. We found that SCZ participants had significant cortical thinning relative to CON and bipolar disorder most significantly in the frontal (i.e. paracentral), parietal (i.e. inferior parietal, supramarginal), and temporal (i.e. middle temporal, fusiform) cortices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number16
JournalInternational Journal of Bipolar Disorders
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018


  • Bipolar disorder
  • Cortical thickness
  • MRI
  • Schizophrenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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