Regional axonal abnormalities in first episode schizophrenia: Preliminary evidence based on high b-value diffusion-weighted imaging

Avi Mendelsohn, Rael D. Strous, Maya Bleich, Yaniv Assaf, Talma Hendler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Connectivity has been implicated as a major source of brain abnormality in schizophrenia. The current study focused on first episode schizophrenia to identify possible early pathology in axonal structure. First episode schizophrenic patients and healthy controls were scanned in a 1.5-Tesla scanner during which high b-value diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) was acquired. Histogram analysis revealed a decrease in overall white matter (WM) tissue, indicating relative axonal abnormality in the schizophrenic group. Subsequent analysis found that this effect was contributed mainly by anterior-prefrontal bundles. Moreover, negative correlations were found between positive and negative symptom severity and whole head WM displacement peak value, implying an overall lesser degree of WM integrity is associated with greater symptom severity. These preliminary results suggest that WM abnormality, as measured by high b-value DWI, is already a significant pathological brain marker in early stage of schizophrenia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)223-229
Number of pages7
JournalPsychiatry Research - Neuroimaging
Issue number3
StatePublished - 30 Apr 2006
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank the Israel Science Foundation no. 28526 (T.H and Y.A) and the Israel Ministry of Science no 28528 (T.H and Y.A,). The National Institute for Psychobiology (I.S. and T.H) is acknowledged for funding the current research. We would like to thank Dr. Pazit Pianka for assisting in various stages of the data acquisition and Prof. Yoram Cohen for helping with the development of the high-b-value methodology. Many thanks go to Dr. Hagai Harari and Dr. Raz Even for help with the patients, and most of all to the patients and volunteers for participating in the study.


  • Connectivity
  • Diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI)
  • High b-value
  • Schizophrenia
  • White matter
  • q-space

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)


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