Background: Although patients with schizophrenia are well-known to exhibit significant brain volume reduction and cognitive function impairment, it remains unclear as to whether the reduction/impairment is correlated with dopaminergic activity under drug-naïve conditions. Methods: 51 drug-naïve patients with and 128 healthy subjects were recruited in this study. DAT by [99mTc]TRODAT-1 single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT), regional gray matter volume (GMV) by voxel-based morphometry (VBM) analysis, and cognitive function in terms of IQ were measured in both groups. Result: A significantly lower DAT availability existed in the drug-naïve group as compared with the healthy subjects (1.67 ± 0.45 vs. 1.98 ± 0.37, P < 0.005). DAT availability was significantly positively correlated with GMV in the left middle frontal lobe (r = 0.58, P < 0.005), the GMV being significantly reduced in the patients with schizophrenia (0.45 ± 0.10 vs. 0.49 ± 0.07, P < 0.005). Furthermore, the GMV in the left middle frontal lobe was significantly and positively correlated with full IQ (r = 0.34, P = 0.02) in the patients with schizophrenia, but not in the controls. Conclusions: Dysregulated dopaminergic activity may modulate volume variation in specific brain areas, and brain volume might alter IQ in drug-naïve patients with schizophrenia.
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