Multiple markers of cortical morphology reveal evidence of supragranular thinning in schizophrenia

Translational Psychiatry
Konrad WagstylPaul C Fletcher


In vivo structural neuroimaging can reliably identify changes to cortical morphology and its regional variation but cannot yet relate these changes to specific cortical layers. We propose, however, that by synthesizing principles of cortical organization, including relative contributions of different layers to sulcal and gyral thickness, regional patterns of variation in thickness of different layers across the cortical sheet and profiles of layer variation across functional hierarchies, it is possible to develop indirect morphological measures as markers of more specific cytoarchitectural changes. We developed four indirect measures sensitive to changes specifically occurring in supragranular cortical layers, and applied these to test the hypothesis that supragranular layers are disproportionately affected in schizophrenia. Our findings from the four different measures converge to indicate a predominance of supragranular thinning in schizophrenia, independent of medication and illness duration. We propose that these indirect measures offer novel ways of identifying layer-specific cortical changes, offering complementary in vivo observations to existing post-mortem studies.


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