Onset of Schizophrenia prior to the end of brain maturation alters grey matter volume loss

Antonija Ruzic Barsic*, Lea Gudelj, Ronald Antulov, Damir Miletic, Koraljka Knezevic, Gordana Rubesa

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articleResearchpeer-review


Background: Brain maturation is considered completed around the age of 25, when prefrontal cortex maturation has been achieved. The aim of our study was to investigate the alterations of grey matter (GM) in patients with the onset of schizophrenia before and after the completion of brain maturation. Subjects and methods: The study group included 100 schizophrenia patients, while the control group comprised 50 healthy individuals. Brain magnetic resonance imaging was acquired on a l.5 T scanner. Voxel-based morphometry (VBM) analyses were performed between groups. Results: GM of the schizophrenic patients is reduced in many regions (p<0.005 FDR corrected). Most widespread reduction is detected in frontal cortex and cerebellum, the other regions being limbic cortex, insula, cuneus, precuneus, superior temporal gyrus and motor cortex. The decrease of grey matter volume (GMV) increases with the increase in number of psychotic episodes and is more pronounced in the patients with earlier onset of the disease. Conclusions: The age of the onset of the disease is important for both total and relative loss of GMV. Earlier onset of schizophrenia, prior to full brain maturation results in significant reduction of GM in comparison with healthy subjects and patients with later, post full brain maturation onset of the disease.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPsychiatria Danubina
Issue numberSuppl. 4
Pages (from-to)719-731
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Medìcìnska naklada - Zagreb, Croatia.


  • Brain maturation
  • Schizophrenia
  • Voxel-based morphometry


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