Differential effects of surface area, gyrification and cortical thickness on voxel based morphometric deficits in schizophrenia.
Voxel Based Morphometry (VBM) and Surface Based Morphometry (SBM) are the two most commonly used methods to study the structure of gray matter in various disease states such as schizophrenia. Though overlapping changes have been observed in same datasets using the two procedures, the proportional contribution of the anatomical properties of the cortical mantle such as thickness, surface area and gyrification to the group differences in gray matter volume (GMV) observed using VBM is unknown. In the present study, we investigate the relationship between the GMV and the anatomical properties of the cortical mantle in regions showing significant VBM changes in schizophrenia using a sample of 57 patients and 41 healthy controls. To this end, we obtained significant clusters showing VBM changes in schizophrenia and studied the contribution of the three anatomical properties derived from SBM to the observed group differences in the GMV using a multiple mediation analysis. Our results suggest that while SBM measures make distinct but regionally variable contribution to the VBM differences, a large proportion of the group difference observed using VBM is not explained by the individual surface anatomical properties. While VBM may be more sensitive in identifying the regions with gray matter abnormalities, studies investigating the pathophysiology of illnesses such as schizophrenia are better informed when both SBM and VBM analyses are performed concurrently.