The mirror neuron system (MNS) may be implicated in schizophrenia. This study investigated MNS structures, including the pars opercularis (Pop), the supramarginal gyrus (SMg), the third branch of the superior longitudinal fasciculus, and callosal fibers interconnecting bilateral Pop (CC-Pop) and SMg (CC-SMg), and clarified their relationships with positive and negative symptoms of schizophrenia. Participants comprised 32 schizophrenia patients and 32 matched controls who received T1-weighted structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI, T1WI) and diffusion spectrum imaging (DSI). The cortical measures were computed from the T1WI data. Tract integrity was assessed using a tractography-based analysis of the generalized fractional anisotropy (GFA) derived from the DSI data. Pearson[U+05F3]s correlations and multiple linear regression analysis were used to investigate the associations between MNS structures and positive and negative symptom scores of schizophrenia. Cortical thickness in bilateral Pop and SMg were significantly thinner and mean GFA of CC-Pop was significantly decreased in patients. Negative symptoms were significantly correlated with left SMg volume, and positive symptoms were significantly correlated with right SMg thickness. Multiple linear regression analysis showed left SMg volume to be the strongest contributor to the negative symptoms. The association between left SMg volume and negative symptoms may reflect the degree of social cognition impairment in schizophrenia.
ASJC Scopus subject areas