Gender effects on brain changes in early-onset psychosis Articles uri icon

publication date

  • October 2015

start page

  • 1193

end page

  • 1205


  • 10


  • 24

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1018-8827

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1435-165X


  • Progressive loss of cortical gray matter (GM) and increase of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) have been reported in early-onset psychosis (EOP). EOP typically begins during adolescence, a time when developmental brain trajectories differ by gender. This study aimed to determine gender differences in progression of brain changes in this population. A sample of 61 (21 females) adolescents with a first psychotic episode and a matched sample of 70 (23 females) controls underwent both baseline and 2-year follow-up anatomical brain imaging assessments. Regional GM and CSF volumes were obtained using automated methods based on the Talairach's proportional grid system. At baseline, only male patients showed a clear pattern of alterations in the frontal lobe relative to controls (smaller GM and larger CSF volumes). However, parallel longitudinal changes for male and female patients relative to controls were observed, resulting in a common pattern of brain changes across both genders: rate of left frontal lobe GM volume loss was larger in male (-3.8 %) and female patients (-4.2 %) than in controls (-0.7 % males; -0.4 % females). The reverse was found for the CSF volume in the left frontal lobe. While the GM and CSF volumes of females with EOP appear to be within the normal range at initial illness onset, our results point to a similar trajectory of increased/accelerated brain changes in both male and female patients with EOP. The pattern of progression of brain changes in psychosis appears to be independent of gender or structural alterations on appearance of psychotic symptoms.


  • human cerebral-cortex; 1st-episode psychosis; sex-differences; prefrontal cortex; longitudinal mri; adolescent brain; cortical change; schizophrenia; childhood; volume