Grey matter volume patterns in thalamic nuclei are associated with familial risk for schizophrenia
Previous evidence suggests reduced thalamic grey matter volume (GMV) in patients with schizophrenia (SCZ). However, it is not considered an intermediate phenotype for schizophrenia, possibly because previous studies did not assess the contribution of individual thalamic nuclei and employed univariate statistics. Here, we hypothesized that multivariate statistics would reveal an association of GMV in different thalamic nuclei with familial risk for schizophrenia. We also hypothesized that accounting for the heterogeneity of thalamic GMV in healthy controls would improve the detection of subjects at familial risk for the disorder. We acquired MRI scans for 96 clinically stable SCZ, 55 non-affected siblings of patients with schizophrenia (SIB), and 249 HC. The thalamus was parceled into seven regions of interest (ROIs). After a canonical univariate analysis, we used GMV estimates of thalamic ROIs, together with total thalamic GMV and premorbid intelligence, as features in Random Forests to classify HC, SIB, and SCZ. Then, we computed a Misclassification Index for each individual and tested the improvement in SIB detection after excluding a subsample of HC misclassified as patients. Random Forests discriminated SCZ from HC (accuracy=81%) and SIB from HC (accuracy=75%). Left anteromedial thalamic volumes were significantly associated with both multivariate classifications (p
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