Compromised myelin integrity during psychosis with repair during remission in drug-responding schizophrenia
International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology
Functional connection among the information-processing (grey-matter) centres within the CNS are necessary for the coordinated processing of perception, affect, thought and behaviour. Myelinated neuronal bundles provide the links among such processing centres. Magnetic resonance diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) can assess the physical integrity of myelin. Using DTI, the authors assessed diffusivity (D m ) within whole brain in 14 controls and within 13 acutely psychotic, drug-free schizophrenics
... ee schizophrenics both before and after 28 d of antipsychotic drug treatment. Drug-responder schizophrenicss (D-RS) (n=8) were differentiated from poor responders (PR) (n=5) according to previously defined criteria. Differences of D m at both baseline and following treatment were assessed using D m distributional analyses and Statistical Parametric Software (SPM2). Impaired physical integrity of myelin, demonstrated by an increase (overall p<0.05) of D m , was found in the D-RS patients, with multiple regions demonstrating p<0.0005 patientcontrol differences. The pathological increase in D m was reduced (p<0.03) following treatment-associated reduction of psychotic symptoms by 84 %. D m of PR patients did not differ from controls at baseline or following subacute treatment. While the pathophysiology(ies) underlying psychosis in poorly responsive (PR) schizophrenics does not appear to be related to a disordered myelin, the findings are consistent with a partially reversible disorder of myelin integrity, and may underlie a dys-synchrony of information processing in a major subgroup of drug-responsive patients with schizophrenia. An antipsychotic drug-induced cascade may partially restore myelin integrity and functional connectivity concomitant with antipsychotic effects in such D-RS patients.