G. K. Lymer, D. E. Job, T. William, J. Moorhead, A. M. McIntosh, D. G. Owens, E. C. Johnstone, S. M. Lawrie


1053-8119 (Print) 1053-8119 (Linking)

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Division of Psychiatry, School of Molecular and Clinical Medicine, The University of Edinburgh, Kennedy Tower, Royal Edinburgh Hospital, Morningside Park, Edinburgh EH10 5HF, UK.

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The brain is known to be structurally abnormal in schizophrenia, with replicated findings between anatomical deficits and some dysfunctions. These structure-function associations have, however, only very rarely been studied in relatives at risk of schizophrenia. We studied the relationships between structure and schizotypal features (assessed using RISC and SIS) and verbal learning and memory (measured using RAVLT) in relatives at high risk of developing schizophrenia and normal controls. Since these behavioural test scores are strong predictors of schizophrenia in the Edinburgh High Risk Study, we hypothesised that these relationships would differ between those high-risk subjects who will develop schizophrenia from those who will not. We performed multiple regressions of the grey matter segments of the subjects and controls, produced using grey matter optimised, voxel-based morphometry, with their RAVLT, SIS and RISC scores in SPM. Where significant relationships were found, we used SPSS to test for subject group by behavioural score interactions. In those high-risk subjects who became ill, grey matter density (GMD) was significantly correlated with RISC in the left superior temporal gyrus. In subjects who remained well, SIS was significantly correlated with GMD in the right pulvinar. Across the whole HR group, GMD in the right medial dorsal thalamic nucleus was significantly correlated with RAVLT. In those subjects who developed symptoms, RAVLT significantly correlated with GMD in right parahippocampal gyrus whereas in those who became ill, significant correlations existed bilaterally in the pulvinar. These results suggest complex and changing patterns of structural-functional relationships in those subjects at high-risk of schizophrenia.