White matter abnormalities in 22q11.2 deletion syndrome patients showing cognitive decline

Jasper Olivier Nuninga, Marc Marijn Bohlken*, Sanne Koops, Ania M. Fiksinski, Rene C. W. Mandl, Elemi J. Breetvelt, Sasja N. Duijff, Rene S. Kahn, Iris E. C. Sommer, Jacob A. S. Vorstman

*Bijbehorende auteur voor dit werk

Onderzoeksoutput: ArticleAcademicpeer review

10 Citaten (Scopus)


Background. Decline in cognitive functioning precedes the first psychotic episode in the course of schizophrenia and is considered a hallmark symptom of the disorder. Given the low incidence of schizophrenia, it remains a challenge to investigate whether cognitive decline coincides with disease-related changes in brain structure, such as white matter abnormalities. The 22q11.2 deletion syndrome (22q11DS) is an appealing model in this context, as 25% of patients develop psychosis. Furthermore, we recently showed that cognitive decline also precedes the onset of psychosis in individuals with 22q11DS. Here, we investigate whether the early cognitive decline in patients with 22q11DS is associated with alterations in white matter microstructure.

Methods. We compared the fractional anisotropy (FA) of white matter in 22q11DS patients with cognitive decline [n = 16; -18.34 (15.8) VIQ percentile points over 6.80 (2.39) years] to 22q11DS patients without cognitive decline [n = 18; 17.71 (20.17) VIQ percentile points over 5.27 (2.03) years] by applying an atlas-based approach to diffusion-weighted imaging data.

Results. FA was significantly increased (p < 0.05, FDR) in 22q11DS patients with a cognitive decline in the bilateral superior longitudinal fasciculus, the bilateral cingulum bundle, all sub-components of the left internal capsule and the left superior frontal-occipital fasciculus as compared with 22q11DS patients without cognitive decline.

Conclusions. Within 22q11DS, the early cognitive decline is associated with microstructural differences in white matter. At the mean age of 17.8 years, these changes are reflected in increased FA in several tracts. We hypothesize that similar brain alterations associated with cognitive decline take place early in the trajectory of schizophrenia.

Originele taal-2English
Pagina's (van-tot)1655-1663
Aantal pagina's9
TijdschriftPsychological Medicine
Nummer van het tijdschrift10
StatusPublished - jul.-2018
Extern gepubliceerdJa

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