Background: Magnetic resonance imaging and positron emission tomography were used to study the size and metabolic rate of the caudate and the putamen in 18 patients with schizophrenia (n= 16) or schizo-affective disorder (n=2) and 24 age- and sex-matched control subjects. Methods: The patients were either never medicated (n = 7) or drug free (n= 11) for a median of 3 weeks. During uptake of fludeoxyglucose F 18, all patients performed a serial verbal learning test. Positron emission tomographic and magnetic resonance imaging scans were coregistered, and the caudate and the putamen were traced on the magnetic resonance image. Results: The striatum had a significantly lower relative metabolic rate in schizophrenics than in controls. Never-medicated patients had lower metabolic rates in the fight putamen (ventral part of the dorsal striatum) than previously medicated patients. The caudate was significantly smaller in never-medicated patients than in controls and largest in previously medicated patients. Patients with higher relative metabolic rates in the putamen scored higher on the Abnormal Involuntary Movements Scale. Conclusions: The findings are consistent with reports of striatal enlargement in previously medicated patients and size increases after neuroleptic treatment. Never-medicated patients, in contrast, had ventral striatal structures that were smaller and less active than those observed in controls and previously medicated patients.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Psychiatry and Mental health