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Auditory verbal hallucinations are related to cortical thinning in the left middle temporal gyrus of patients with schizophrenia

  • Y. Cui (a1) (a2) (a3), B. Liu (a1) (a2) (a3) (a4), M. Song (a1) (a2) (a3), D. M. Lipnicki (a5), J. Li (a1) (a2) (a3), S. Xie (a1) (a2) (a3), Y. Chen (a6), P. Li (a7) (a8), L. Lu (a7) (a8) (a9), L. Lv (a10) (a11), H. Wang (a6), H. Yan (a7) (a8), J. Yan (a7) (a8), H. Zhang (a10) (a11) (a12), D. Zhang (a7) (a8) (a9) and T. Jiang (a1) (a2) (a3) (a4) (a13) (a14)...

Auditory verbal hallucinations (AVHs) are one of the most common and severe symptoms of schizophrenia, but the neuroanatomical abnormalities underlying AVHs are not well understood. The present study aims to investigate whether AVHs are associated with cortical thinning.


Participants were schizophrenia patients from four centers across China, 115 with AVHs and 93 without AVHs, as well as 261 healthy controls. All received 3 T T1-weighted brain scans, and whole brain vertex-wise cortical thickness was compared across groups. Correlations between AVH severity and cortical thickness were also determined.


The left middle part of the middle temporal gyrus (MTG) was significantly thinner in schizophrenia patients with AVHs than in patients without AVHs and healthy controls. Inferences were made using a false discovery rate approach with a threshold at p < 0.05. Left MTG thickness did not differ between patients without AVHs and controls. These results were replicated by a meta-analysis showing them to be consistent across the four centers. Cortical thickness of the left MTG was also found to be inversely correlated with hallucination severity across all schizophrenia patients.


The results of this multi-center study suggest that an abnormally thin left MTG could be involved in the pathogenesis of AVHs in schizophrenia.

Corresponding author
*Address for correspondence: Tianzi Jiang, Ph.D., Brainnetome Center, Institute of Automation, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100190, China. (Email:
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