Gender differences in temporal lobe structures of patients with schizophrenia: a volumetric MRI study.
OBJECTIVE: The temporal lobe and associated structures have been previously implicated in the neuroanatomy of schizophrenia. This study was designed to assess the potential influence of gender on the morphology of temporal lobe structures, including the superior temporal gyrus and the amygdala/hippocampal complex, in patients with schizophrenia and to examine whether schizophrenic patients differ morphologically in these structures from comparison subjects. METHOD: Magnetic resonance imaging was used to measure the volume of temporal lobe structures, including the superior temporal gyrus, the amygdala/hippocampal complex, and the temporal lobe (excluding the volumes of the superior temporal gyrus and amygdala/hippocampal complex), and two comparison areas--the prefrontal cortex and caudate--in 36 male and 23 female patients with schizophrenia and 19 male and 18 female comparison subjects. RESULTS: There was a significant main effect of diagnosis in the superior temporal gyrus and the amygdala/hippocampal complex, with smaller volumes in patients than in comparison subjects. There was a significant gender-by-diagnosis-by-hemisphere interaction for temporal lobe volume. Temporal lobe volume on the left was significantly smaller in male patients than in male comparison subjects. Female patients and female comparison subjects demonstrated no significant difference in temporal lobe volume. There were no statistically significant gender interactions for the superior temporal gyrus, the amygdala/hippocampal complex, or the comparison regions. CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that there may be a unique interaction between gender and the pathophysiologic processes that lead to altered temporal lobe volume in patients with schizophrenia.