Cognitive and psychopathology correlates of brain white/grey matter structure in severely psychotic schizophrenic inpatients

Nerisa Banaj, Federica Piras, Fabrizio Piras, Valentina Ciullo, Mariangela Iorio, Claudia Battaglia, Donatella Pantoli, Giuseppe Ducci, Gianfranco Spalletta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The brain structural correlates of cognitive and psychopathological symptoms within the active phase in severely psychotic schizophrenic inpatients have been rarely investigated. Twenty-eight inpatients with a DSM-5 diagnosis of Schizophrenia (SZ), admitted for acute psychotic decompensation, were assessed through a comprehensive neuropsychological and psychopathological battery. All patients underwent a high-resolution T1-weighted magnetic resonance imaging investigation. Increased psychotic severity was related to reduced grey matter volumes in the medial portion of the right superior frontal cortex, the superior orbitofrontal cortex bilaterally and to white matter volume reduction in the medial portion of the left superior frontal area. Immediate verbal memory performance was related to left insula and inferior parietal cortex volume, while long-term visuo-spatial memory was related to grey matter volume of the right middle temporal cortex, and the right (lobule VII, CRUS1) and left (lobule VI) cerebellum. Moreover, psychotic severity correlated with cognitive inflexibility and negative symptom severity was related to visuo-spatial processing and reasoning disturbances. These findings indicate that a disruption of the cortical-subcortical-cerebellar circuit, and distorted memory function contribute to the development and maintenance of psychotic exacerbation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-36
Number of pages8
JournalSchizophrenia Research: Cognition
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2018


  • Brain morphometry
  • Cerebellum
  • Cognition
  • Frontal cortex
  • Psychotic exacerbation
  • Schizophrenia inpatients
  • Temporal cortex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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