Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

BACKGROUND: While adolescent-onset schizophrenia (ADO-SCZ) and adolescent-onset bipolar disorder with psychosis (psychotic ADO-BPD) present a more severe clinical course than their adult forms, their pathophysiology is poorly understood. Here, we study potentially state- and trait-related white matter diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (dMRI) abnormalities along the adolescent-onset psychosis continuum to address this need. METHODS: Forty-eight individuals with ADO-SCZ (20 female/28 male), 15 individuals with psychotic ADO-BPD (7 female/8 male), and 35 healthy controls (HCs, 18 female/17 male) underwent dMRI and clinical assessments. Maps of extracellular free-water (FW) and fractional anisotropy of cellular tissue (FAT) were compared between individuals with psychosis and HCs using tract-based spatial statistics and FSL's Randomise. FAT and FW values were extracted, averaged across all voxels that demonstrated group differences, and then utilized to test for the influence of age, medication, age of onset, duration of illness, symptom severity, and intelligence. RESULTS: Individuals with adolescent-onset psychosis exhibited pronounced FW and FAT abnormalities compared to HCs. FAT reductions were spatially more widespread in ADO-SCZ. FW increases, however, were only present in psychotic ADO-BPD. In HCs, but not in individuals with adolescent-onset psychosis, FAT was positively related to age. CONCLUSIONS: We observe evidence for cellular (FAT) and extracellular (FW) white matter abnormalities in adolescent-onset psychosis. Although cellular white matter abnormalities were more prominent in ADO-SCZ, such alterations may reflect a shared trait, i.e. neurodevelopmental pathology, present across the psychosis spectrum. Extracellular abnormalities were evident in psychotic ADO-BPD, potentially indicating a more dynamic, state-dependent brain reaction to psychosis.

Original publication




Journal article


Psychol Med

Publication Date





4707 - 4719


Diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging, TBSS, early-onset, free-water, neurodevelopment, psychosis, Adult, Male, Humans, Female, Adolescent, Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder, White Matter, Psychotic Disorders, Brain