alexa A window into the brain: an in vivo study of the retina in schizophrenia using optical coherence tomography.


International Journal of Neurorehabilitation

Author(s): Chu EM, Kolappan M, Barnes TR, Joyce EM, Ron MA

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Abstract Retinal nerve fibre layer (RNFL) thickness and macular volume (MV) can be measured in vivo using optical coherence tomography (OCT) providing a "window into the brain". RNFL and MV are promising biomarkers in neurological diseases. This study explores the potential of RNFL and MV to detect axonal abnormalities in vivo in schizophrenia and their correlations with clinical features. OCT was performed in 49 patients (38 schizophrenia, 11 schizoaffective disorder) and 40 healthy controls matched for age and gender. Group comparisons were made between whole retina and quadrant RNFL thickness and MV using multi-level analyses. In patients, associations were sought between RNFL and MV with symptom severity (positive/negative). Patients and controls had similar whole retina RNFL thickness (p=0.86) and MV (p=0.64), but RNFL in the right nasal quadrant of the schizoaffective group was thinner than in the schizophrenia group (p=0.02). In patients, positive symptom severity was associated with smaller MV (right β=-0.54, p=0.02; left β=-0.49, p=0.04). Normal MV and RNFL thickness suggests unmyelinated axons in patients with schizophrenia/schizoaffective disorder remain unaffected. Longitudinal studies using higher resolution OCT will clarify whether progressive RNFL and MV changes occur and whether they can be used as state or trait markers in schizophrenia. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
This article was published in Psychiatry Res and referenced in International Journal of Neurorehabilitation

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