Progressive pathology is functionally linked to the domains of language and emotion: meta-analysis of brain structure changes in schizophrenia patients

  • Thomas Nickl-Jockschat
  • Frank Schneider
  • Alena D. Pagel
  • Angie R. Laird
  • Peter T. Fox
  • Simon B. Eickhoff
Original Paper


Schizophrenia is a neuropsychiatric disorder entailing progressive psychotic, cognitive and affective symptoms. Several imaging studies identified brain structure abnormalities in schizophrenia patients, particularly in fronto-temporal regions and evidence for progressive anatomical changes. Here, we synthesised these findings by quantitative coordinate-based meta-analysis, assessing regions of consistently reported brain structure changes, their physiological functions and the correlation of their likelihood with disease duration. The meta-analysis revealed four significant clusters of convergent grey matter reduction, while one cluster indicated higher grey matter values in patients. A voxel-wise analysis revealed a correlation between grey matter reduction and disease duration in the left anterior insula. Functional characterisation revealed significant association with reward, affective processing and language functions. The current analysis allowed the identification of consistent morphometric changes across a large sample of studies in regions that are associated with neurophysiological functions that are altered as hallmarks of schizophrenia psychopathology. The observation that the location of presumably progressive pathology is functionally linked to language and emotion is well in line with increasing deficits in these domains with disease progression in schizophrenia.


Schizophrenia Brain structure Anatomical likelihood estimation Disease duration Structure–function relationship BrainMap 

Supplementary material

406_2011_249_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (64 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 64 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas Nickl-Jockschat
    • 1
    • 2
  • Frank Schneider
    • 1
    • 2
  • Alena D. Pagel
    • 1
  • Angie R. Laird
    • 3
  • Peter T. Fox
    • 3
  • Simon B. Eickhoff
    • 1
    • 2
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and PsychosomaticsRWTH Aachen UniversityAachenGermany
  2. 2.JARA—Translational Brain MedicineAachen/JuelichGermany
  3. 3.Research Imaging InstituteUniversity of Texas Health Science CenterSan AntonioUSA
  4. 4.Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine-2, Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbHJuelichGermany

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