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Selective disrupted gray matter volume covariance of amygdala subregions in schizophrenia

Objective: Although extensive structural and functional abnormalities have been reported in schizophrenia, the gray matter volume (GMV) covariance of the amygdala remain unknown.

Selective disrupted gray matter volume covariance of amygdala subregions in schizophrenia

The amygdala contains several subregions with different connection patterns and functions, but it is unclear whether the GMV covariance of these subregions are selectively affected in schizophrenia. Methods: To address this issue, we compared the GMV covariance of each amygdala subregion between 807 schizophrenia patients and 845 healthy controls from 11 centers.

The amygdala was segmented into nine subregions using FreeSurfer (v7.1.1), including the lateral (La), basal (Ba), accessory-basal (AB), anterior-amygdaloid-area (AAA), central (Ce), medial (Me), cortical (Co), corticoamygdaloid-transition (CAT), and paralaminar (PL) nucleus. We developed an operational combat harmonization model for 11 centers, subsequently employing a voxel-wise general linear model to investigate the differences in GMV covariance between schizophrenia patients and healthy controls across these subregions and the entire brain, while adjusting for age, sex and TIV. Results: Our findings revealed that five amygdala subregions of schizophrenia patients, including bilateral AAA, CAT, and right Ba, demonstrated significantly increased GMV covariance with the hippocampus, striatum, orbitofrontal cortex, and so on (permutation test, P< 0.05, corrected).

These findings could be replicated in most centers. Rigorous correlation analysis failed to identify relationships between the altered GMV covariance with positive and negative symptom scale, duration of illness, and antipsychotic medication measure. Conclusion: Our research is the first to discover selectively impaired GMV covariance patterns of amygdala subregion in a large multicenter sample size of patients with schizophrenia.

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