Application of stereological methods to study white and grey matter in schizophrenic patients

Amani Elfaki, Tahir Osman, Bunyamin Sahin, Abdelgani Elsheikh, Amira Mohammed


Background: Schizophrenia is the most common and the most severe psychiatric disorder which generally results in atrophy of the brain. The aim of this study is to perform measurement of cerebral structures using
magnetic resonance imaging in combination with stereology, to detect structural alterations in schizophrenics.
Method: In the present study 88 control and 57 schizophrenic subjects participated. Structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was done to both groups with SIEMENS 1.5 Tesla scanner. The Dicom images were
analyzed using the ImageJ software. The volumes of cerebrum, white and grey matter were estimated using the planimetry technique of stereological methods. The volume fraction of structures was also estimated.
Results: According to the present findings, the mean volume of right, left, and total hemispheres in controls were 550.81, 550.21, 1101.02 cm3, respectively. The mean volume of right, left, and total hemispheres in
schizophrenics were 513.36, 512.43, 1025.79 cm3, respectively. The schizophrenics’ brains were smaller than the controls (p<0.05). The mean volume of total white matter of controls (515.55 cm3) was bigger than the
schizophrenics’ volume (451.48cm3), (p<0.05). The volume fraction of total white matter was also lower in schizophrenics (p<0.05). The volume of males grey matter did not differ between groups, however, its volume
fraction was higher than all controls and schizophrenic females (p<0.05).
Conclusion: The results showed that the volumes of schizophrenics’ brain were smaller than the controls.
However, the volume fractional changes in schizophrenics showed sex dependant differences that may help in the diagnosis of the disorder.

*Corresponding author: Department of Anatomy, National College for Medical and Technical Studies. Khartoum, Sudan. Email:

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ISSN: 1858-5345