Regional gray matter (GM) abnormalities are well known to exist in patients with chronic schizophrenia. Voxel-based morphometry (VBM) has been previously used on structural magnetic resonance images (MRI) data to characterize these abnormalities. Two multisite schizophrenia studies, the Functional Biomedical Informatics Research Network and the Mind Clinical Imaging Consortium, which include 9 data collection sites, are evaluating the efficacy of pooling structural imaging data across imaging centers. Such a pooling of data could yield the increased statistical power needed to elucidate effects that may not be seen with smaller samples. VBM analyses were performed to evaluate the consistency of patient versus control gray matter concentration (GMC) differences across the study sites, as well as the effects of combining multisite data. Integration of data from both studies yielded a large sample of 503 subjects, including 266 controls and 237 patients diagnosed with schizophrenia, schizoaffective or schizophreniform disorder. The data were analyzed using the combined sample, as well as analyzing each of the 2 multisite studies separately. A consistent pattern of reduced relative GMC in schizophrenia patients compared with controls was found across all study sites. Imaging center-specific effects were evaluated using a region of interest analysis. Overall, the findings support the use of VBM in combined multisite studies. This analysis of schizophrenics and controls from around the United States provides continued supporting evidence for GM deficits in the temporal lobes, anterior cingulate, and frontal regions in patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorders.
- Gray matter concentration