Impaired fornix-hippocampus integrity is linked to peripheral glutathione peroxidase in early psychosis
Several lines of evidence implicate the fornix-hippocampus circuit in schizophrenia. In early-phase psychosis, this circuit has not been extensively investigated and the underlying mechanisms affecting the circuit are unknown. The hippocampus and fornix are vulnerable to oxidative stress at peripuberty in a glutathione (GSH)-deficient animal model. The purposes of the current study were to assess the integrity of the fornix-hippocampus circuit in early-psychosis patients (EP), and to study its relationship with peripheral redox markers. Diffusion spectrum imaging and T1-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) were used to assess the fornix and hippocampus in 42 EP patients compared with 42 gender- and age-matched healthy controls. Generalized fractional anisotropy (gFA) and volumetric properties were used to measure fornix and hippocampal integrity, respectively. Correlation analysis was used to quantify the relationship of gFA in the fornix and hippocampal volume, with blood GSH levels and glutathione peroxidase (GPx) activity. Patients compared with controls exhibited lower gFA in the fornix as well as smaller volume in the hippocampus. In EP, but not in controls, smaller hippocampal volume was associated with high GPx activity. Disruption of the fornix-hippocampus circuit is already present in the early stages of psychosis. Higher blood GPx activity is associated with smaller hippocampal volume, which may support a role of oxidative stress in disease mechanisms.