Diffusion properties of the thalamocortical pathways were compared between 30 schizophrenic patients and 22 healthy age-matched and sex-matched volunteers. T1-weighted and diffusion tensor images were used for cortical parcellation and probabilistic tractography to generate population-based thalamocortical pathway maps. The weighted fractional anisotropy and the longitudinal and transversal diffusivity of each pathway were calculated for individual participants. Patients with schizophrenia demonstrated decreased anisotropy and increased longitudinal and transversal diffusivity within the pathways from the mediodorsal nucleus and the pulvinar to the orbitofrontal and parietal-occipital-temporal lobes. Anisotropy decreases and diffusivity increases were correlated with positive and negative syndrome scale scores. Alterations in global diffusion properties within the thalamocortical pathways imply the disruption of brain circuitry in schizophrenic patients.
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