Cerebellar grey-matter deficits, cannabis use and first-episode schizophrenia in adolescents and young adults

Cohen, Martin, Rasser, Paul E., Peck, Greg, Carr, Vaughan J., Ward, Philip B., Thompson, Paul M., Johnston, Patrick, Baker, Amanda, & Schall, Ulrich (2012) Cerebellar grey-matter deficits, cannabis use and first-episode schizophrenia in adolescents and young adults. International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, 15(3), pp. 297-307.

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Epidemiological data link adolescent cannabis use to psychosis and schizophrenia, but its contribution to schizophrenia neuropathology remains controversial. First-episode schizophrenia (FES) patients show regional cerebral grey- and white-matter changes as well as a distinct pattern of regional grey-matter loss in the vermis of the cerebellum. The cerebellum possesses a high density of cannabinoid type 1 receptors involved in the neuronal diversification of the developing brain. Cannabis abuse may interfere with this process during adolescent brain maturation leading to ‘schizophrenia-like’ cerebellar pathology. Magnetic resonance imaging and cortical pattern matching techniques were used to investigate cerebellar grey and white matter in FES patients with and without a history of cannabis use and non-psychiatric cannabis users. In the latter group we found lifetime dose-dependent regional reduction of grey matter in the right cerebellar lobules and a tendency for more profound grey-matter reduction in lobule III with younger age at onset of cannabis use. The overall regional grey-matter differences in cannabis users were within the normal variability of grey-matter distribution. By contrast, FES subjects had lower total cerebellar grey-matter : total cerebellar volume ratio and marked grey-matter loss in the vermis, pedunculi, flocculi and lobules compared to pair-wise matched healthy control subjects. This pattern and degree of grey-matter loss did not differ from age-matched FES subjects with comorbid cannabis use. Our findings indicate small dose-dependent effects of juvenile cannabis use on cerebellar neuropathology but no evidence of an additional effect of cannabis use on FES cerebellar grey-matter pathology.

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ID Code: 77511
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: Articles free to read on journal website
Keywords: cerebellum, magnetic resonance imaging, parametric mapping, psychosis, THC
DOI: 10.1017/S146114571100068X
ISSN: 1461-1457
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000) > PSYCHOLOGY (170100) > Biological Psychology (Neuropsychology Psychopharmacology Physiological Psychology) (170101)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Schools > School of Psychology & Counselling
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2011 CINP
Deposited On: 05 Nov 2014 23:19
Last Modified: 02 Feb 2015 00:45

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