Relationship Between White Matter Glucose Metabolism and Fractional Anisotropy in Healthy and Schizophrenia Subjects

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Decreased fractional anisotropy and increased glucose utilization in the white matter have been reported in schizophrenia. These findings may be indicative of an inverse relationship between these measures of white matter integrity and metabolism. We used 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography and diffusion-tensor imaging in 19 healthy and 25 schizophrenia subjects to assess and compare coterritorial correlation patterns between glucose utilization and fractional anisotropy on a voxel-by-voxel basis and across a range of automatically placed representative white matter regions of interest. We found a pattern of predominantly negative correlations between white matter metabolism and fractional anisotropy in both healthy and schizophrenia subjects. The overall strength of the relationship was attenuated in subjects with schizophrenia, who displayed significantly fewer and weaker correlations in all regions assessed with the exception of the corpus callosum. This attenuation was most prominent in the left prefrontal white matter and this region also best predicted the diagnosis of schizophrenia. There exists an inverse relationship between the measures of white matter integrity and metabolism, which may therefore be physiologically linked. In subjects with schizophrenia, hypermetabolism in the white matter may be a function of lower white matter integrity, with lower efficiency and increased energetic cost of task-related computations.