Objective: Velo-cardio-facial syndrome (VCFS; 22q11.2 deletion syndrome) represents one of the highest known risk factors for schizophrenia. Insofar as up to thirty percent of individuals with this genetic disorder develop schizophrenia, VCFS constitutes a unique, etiologically homogeneous model for understanding the pathogenesis of schizophrenia.
Method: Using a longitudinal, case-control design, we acquired anatomic magnetic resonance images to investigate both cross-sectional and longitudinal alterations in surface cortical morphology in a cohort of adolescents with VCFS and age-matched typical controls. All participants were scanned at two time points.
Results: Relative to controls, youth with VCFS exhibited alterations in inferior frontal, dorsal frontal, occipital, and cerebellar brain regions at both time points. We observed little change over time in surface morphology of either study group. However, within the VCFS group only, worsening psychosocial functioning over time was associated with Time 2 surface contractions in left middle and inferior temporal gyri. Further, prodromal symptoms at Time 2 were associated with surface contractions in left and right orbitofrontal, temporal and cerebellar regions, as well as surface protrusions of supramarginal gyrus.
Conclusions: These findings advance our understanding of cortical disturbances in VCFS that produce vulnerability for psychosis in this high risk population.
Kates, Wendy R.; Bansal, Ravi; Fremont, Wanda; Hao, Xuejun; Higgins, Anne Marie; Liu, Jun; Shprintzen, Robert J.; and Peterson, Bradley S., "Mapping Cortical Morphology in Youth With Velocardiofacial (22q11.2 Deletion) Syndrome" (2011). Speech-Language Pathology Faculty Publications. 80.