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Samuel Asanad, Hugh O'Neill, Hampton Addis, Shuo Chen, Jingtao Wang, Eric Goldwaser, Peter Kochunov, L. Elliot Hong, Osamah J. Saeedi; Neuroretinal Biomarkers for Schizophrenia Spectrum Disorders. Trans. Vis. Sci. Tech. 2021;10(4):29. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/tvst.10.4.29.
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We evaluated the patient-control differences and predictive value of the retina as potential biomarkers for schizophrenia.
The institutional study included both eyes of 58 schizophrenia spectrum disorder (SSD) patients (age 37.2 ± 12.3 years) and 35 controls (age 41.1 ± 15.2 years). Retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL), ganglion cell–inner plexiform layer, outer retinal photoreceptor complex, and total macula thicknesses were measured by optical coherence tomography (OCT). Anterior segment parameters including central corneal thickness, anterior chamber depth, and axial length were measured to rule out confounds on the retinal measures.
The peripapillary RNFL was overall significantly thinner in SSD relative to controls (F = 3.97, P = 0.049), most pronounced in the temporal (5.2 µm difference, F = 6.95, P = 0.010) and inferior quadrants (12.1 µm difference, F = 7.32, P = 0.009). There were no significant group differences in thickness for the macular RNFL, ganglion, or photoreceptor cell related measures (P > 0.05). Peripapillary RNFL, central macula, and outer photoreceptor complex thicknesses were together able to classify SSD patients with 80% sensitivity and 71% specificity; area under the curve = 0.82 (95% confidence interval, 0.75–0.88).
SSD patients exhibited significant RNFL thinning relative to controls. Notably, retinal thickness measures including both peripapillary and macular data exhibited improved diagnostic accuracy for SSD as compared to these regions alone.
This is the first study to evaluate the predictive value of both the inner and outer retina in SSD. OCT retinal thickness measures including peripapillary data in conjunction with macular data may provide an informative, noninvasive in vivo ocular biomarker for schizophrenia.
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