Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 22892556.
Schizophr Bull 2013 Jul;39(4):820-9
Schizophrenia is a complex brain disorder associated with numerous etiological factors and pathophysiological pathways leading to multiple clinical outcomes. Compelling evidence suggests that deviations in neurodevelopmental processes are a major risk factor of schizophrenia. The identification of patients with high neurodevelopmental deviance is an important issue as it could help to identify homogeneous subgroups of patients with similar pathophysiological pathways, a key step to decipher the etiology of this complex condition. Several clinical arguments suggest that schizophrenia patients with Neurological Soft Signs (NSS)–ie, observable defects in motor coordination, motor integration, and sensory integration–would have high neurodevelopmental deviance. Based on the analysis of magnetic resonance imaging of 44 first-episode psychosis patients, we compared the cortex morphology, a marker of brain development, in patients with NSS vs patients with nonsignificant NSS. The cortex morphology was automatically assessed from three-dimensional global sulcal index (g-SI, the ratio between total sulcal area and outer cortex area) and regional sulcal indexes (r-SI, the ratio between the area of pooled labeled sulci and the total outer cortex area). Patients with NSS were found to have a lower g-SI in both hemispheres and a lower r-SI in left dorsolateral prefrontal and right lateral occipital cortices. Exploratory analyses revealed correlations between NSS dimensions and r-SI in distinct cortical areas, including dorsolateral and medial prefrontal cortices, lateral temporal, occipital, superior parietal, and medial parieto-occipital cortices. These findings provide evidence of distinct neurodevelopmental pathways in patients with NSS as compared with patients with nonsignificant NSS.