The relationship between prefrontal brain volume and characteristics of memory strategy in schizophrenia spectrum disorders.Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2008 Dec 12; 32(8):1854-62.PN
The present study investigated the relationship between memory strategy use and prefrontal gray/white matter volumes of healthy control subjects, patients with schizophrenia or schizotypal disorder. Gray/white matter volumes were measured for the superior, middle, inferior, ventral medial and orbital prefrontal regions, using high-resolution magnetic resonance (MR) images that were acquired from 35 patients with schizophrenia, 25 patients with schizotypal disorder and 19 healthy subjects. Participants were also administered the Japanese Verbal Learning Test (JVLT). In control subjects, larger left inferior frontal and straight gyrus's gray matter volumes were associated with higher semantic clustering rates on the JVLT, and smaller left inferior frontal gray matter volumes were associated with higher serial clustering ratio. In schizophrenic patients, smaller left orbitofrontal gray matter volumes were associated with lower semantic clustering rates on the JVLT. In schizotypal patients, smaller left inferior frontal white matter volume was associated with smaller serial clustering rates and larger semantic clustering rate. These findings suggest that semantic organization in schizophrenic patients might depend on mobilization of a memory strategy that is mediated by orbitofrontal cortex functioning. Failure to use a semantic organization strategy might be related to reduced volume in the inferior frontal gyrus. The findings for schizotypal patients suggest a compensation mechanism to remember the words using a serial processing strategy is at work when the inferior frontal gyrus cannot mediate semantic processing.