Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Abstract Background and hypothesis Schizophrenia is highly heritable, with a polygenic effect of many genes conferring risk. Evidence on whether cumulative risk also predicts alterations in brain morphology and function is inconsistent. This systematic review examined evidence for schizophrenia polygenic risk score (sczPRS) associations with commonly used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) measures. We expected consistent evidence to emerge for significant sczPRS associations with variation in structure and function, specifically in frontal, temporal, and insula cortices that are commonly implicated in schizophrenia pathophysiology. Study Design In accordance with Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines, we searched MEDLINE, Embase, and PsycINFO for peer-reviewed studies published between January 2013 and March 2022. Studies were screened against predetermined criteria and National Institutes of Health (NIH) quality assessment tools. Study Results In total, 57 studies of T1-weighted structural, diffusion, and functional MRI were included (age range = 9–80 years, Nrange = 64–76 644). We observed moderate, albeit preliminary, evidence for higher sczPRS predicting global reductions in cortical thickness and widespread variation in functional connectivity, and to a lesser extent, region-specific reductions in frontal and temporal volume and thickness. Conversely, sczPRS does not predict whole-brain surface area or gray/white matter volume. Limited evidence emerged for sczPRS associations with diffusion tensor measures of white matter microstructure in a large community sample and smaller cohorts of children and young adults. These findings were broadly consistent across community and clinical populations. Conclusions Our review supports the hypothesis that schizophrenia is a disorder of disrupted within and between-region brain connectivity, and points to specific whole-brain and regional MRI metrics that may provide useful intermediate phenotypes.

Original publication




Journal article


Schizophrenia Bulletin


Oxford University Press (OUP)

Publication Date





32 - 46