Reduced gray matter volume is a frequently reported finding in brain imaging studies performed with schizophrenia patients. Some studies suggest a probable link between the negative symptoms of schizophrenia and gray matter loss; however, some of the negative symptoms observed in schizophrenia patients are not primarily linked to the core of schizophrenia. This study aimed to compare gray mattervolumes in patients with primary negative symptoms (deficit schizophrenia [DS]), non-DS (NDS) patients, and healthy controls.
The study included 11 DS patients, 18 non-DS patients, and 17 healthy controls. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was performed using a 1.5 Tesla MR unit. The Schedule for Deficit Syndrome (SDS) was used to determine which patients were DS and non-DS. MR images were compared using voxel-based morphometry (VBM) analysis.
Contrary to expectations, no evidence to support less gray matter in DS patients than in NDS patients was observed. Furthermore, NDS patients had less gray matter volume in several brain regions (frontal and temporal cortices) than did the DS patients. All patients had perisylvian gray matter volume deficits, though the NDS patients had more widespread volume deficiencies.
No evidence to support the hypothesis that DS patients have less gray matter volume than those of NDS patients was observed. On the contrary, DS patients had more gray matter volume in some regions; the differences observed in gray matter volume in these brain regions between the 2 patient groups may be responsible for the differences in their clinical manifestations.