Sex and laterality differences in parkinsonian impairment and transcranial ultrasound in never-treated schizophrenics and their first degree relatives in an Andean population

Danielle Kamis, Lee Stratton, María Calvó, Eduardo Padilla, Néstor Florenzano, Gonzalo Guerrero, Beatriz Molina Rangeon, Juan Molina, Gabriel A. de Erausquin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

We tested the hypothesis that loss of substantia nigra neurons in subjects at risk of schizophrenia (1), as reflected by midbrain hyperechogenicity (2) and parkinsonian motor impairment (3), is asymmetric and influenced by sex. We evaluated 62 subjects with never-treated chronic schizophrenia, 80 of their adult, unaffected first degree relatives and 62 healthy controls (matched by sex and age to the cases), part of an Andean population of Northern Argentina. Parkinsonism was scored blindly using UPDRS-3 (Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale) on videotaped exams by 2 independent raters. Transcranial ultrasound was performed by an expert sonographist blind to subject condition with a 2.5. MHz transducer through a temporal bone window. Quantification of echogenic area was carried out on saved images by a different evaluator. We found a significant difference in parkinsonian motor impairment between patients, their relatives as well as controls. All three groups showed worse parkinsonism on the left side than the right, corresponding with increased echogenicity on the right substantia nigra compared with the left. Females had significantly more right echogenicity than males, and patients and unaffected relatives were significantly more echogenic than controls on that side. On the left, only female patients had significant echogenicity. Our data supports the notion that unaffected relatives of schizophrenic subjects have increased parkinsonism and concomitant brainstem abnormalities which may represent a vulnerability to the disease. Both motor and brainstem abnormalities are asymmetric and influenced by sex.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)250-255
Number of pages6
JournalSchizophrenia research
Volume164
Issue number1-3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2015

Keywords

  • Dimorphism
  • Laterality
  • Parkinsonism
  • Schizophrenia
  • Transcranial ultrasound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

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