Cortical morphology of adolescents with bipolar disorder and with schizophrenia.
Janssen J., Alemán-Gómez Y., Schnack H., Balaban E., Pina-Camacho L., Alfaro-Almagro F., Castro-Fornieles J., Otero S., Baeza I., Moreno D., Bargalló N., Parellada M., Arango C., Desco M.
INTRODUCTION: Recent evidence points to overlapping decreases in cortical thickness and gyrification in the frontal lobe of patients with adult-onset schizophrenia and bipolar disorder with psychotic symptoms, but it is not clear if these findings generalize to patients with a disease onset during adolescence and what may be the mechanisms underlying a decrease in gyrification. METHOD: This study analyzed cortical morphology using surface-based morphometry in 92 subjects (age range 11-18 years, 52 healthy controls and 40 adolescents with early-onset first-episode psychosis diagnosed with schizophrenia (n=20) or bipolar disorder with psychotic symptoms (n=20) based on a two year clinical follow up). Average lobar cortical thickness, surface area, gyrification index (GI) and sulcal width were compared between groups, and the relationship between the GI and sulcal width was assessed in the patient group. RESULTS: Both patients groups showed decreased cortical thickness and increased sulcal width in the frontal cortex when compared to healthy controls. The schizophrenia subgroup also had increased sulcal width in all other lobes. In the frontal cortex of the combined patient group sulcal width was negatively correlated (r=-0.58, p<0.001) with the GI. CONCLUSIONS: In adolescents with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder with psychotic symptoms there is cortical thinning, decreased GI and increased sulcal width of the frontal cortex present at the time of the first psychotic episode. Decreased frontal GI is associated with the widening of the frontal sulci which may reduce sulcal surface area. These results suggest that abnormal growth (or more pronounced shrinkage during adolescence) of the frontal cortex represents a shared endophenotype for psychosis.