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Agata Szulc, Beata Galińska-Skok, Eugeniusz Tarasów, Beata Konarzewska, Napoleon Waszkiewicz, Rafał Hykiel, Jerzy Walecki
Med Sci Monit 2012; 18(6): CR390-398
Background: Proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H MRS) allows for examining brain functions in vivo in schizophrenic patients. Correlations between N-acetylaspartate (NAA) level in the frontal lobe and cognitive functions and clinical symptoms have been observed. The aim of the present study was evaluation of relationship between clinical symptoms, cognitive outcomes and brain function in 1H MRS measures in schizophrenic patients.
Material/Methods: The study included a group of 47 patients with chronic schizophrenia. Patients were assessed by means of PANSS, CGI, and a battery of cognitive tests: WCST, TMT, and verbal fluency test. MRI and MRS procedures were performed. Regions of interest were located in the left frontal lobe, temporal lobe and thalamus. Metabolite (NAA, choline, myoinositol and Glx complex) ratios to creatine were calculated.
Results: We observed a significant negative correlation between myoinositol level in the frontal lobe and WSCT test performance. These data were confirmed by further analysis, which showed a significant correlation between WCST outcome, negative symptoms score, education level and myoinositol ratio in the frontal lobe. When analyzing negative symptoms as independent variables, the analysis of regression revealed a significant relationship between negative symptoms score and verbal fluency score, together with choline level in the thalamus.
Conclusions: The above data seem to confirm a significant role of the thalamus – a “transmission station” involved in connections with the prefrontal cortex – for psychopathology development (especially negative) in schizophrenia. Moreover, our results suggest that a neurodegenerative process may be involved in schizophrenia pathogenesis.