Magnitude and heterogeneity of brain structural abnormalities in 22q11.2 deletion syndrome: a meta-analysis

Maria Rogdaki, Maria Gudbrandsen, Robert A McCutcheon, Charlotte E Blackmore, Stefan Brugger, Christine Ecker, Michael C Craig, Eileen Daly, Declan G M Murphy, Oliver Howes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The 22q11.2 deletion syndrome (22q11.2DS) is a neurodevelopmental disorder associated with a number of volumetric brain abnormalities. The syndrome is also associated with an increased risk for neuropsychiatric disorders including schizophrenia and autism spectrum disorder. An earlier meta-analysis showed reduced grey and white matter volumes in individuals with 22q11.2DS. Since this analysis was conducted, the number of studies has increased markedly, permitting more precise estimates of effects and more regions to be examined. Although 22q11.2DS is clinically heterogeneous, it is not known to what extent this heterogeneity is mirrored in neuroanatomy. The aim of this study was thus to investigate differences in mean brain volume and structural variability within regions, between 22q11.2DS and typically developing controls. We examined studies that reported measures of brain volume using MRI in PubMed, Web of Science, Scopus and PsycINFO from inception to 1 May 2019. Data were extracted from studies in order to calculate effect sizes representing case-control difference in mean volume, and in the variability of volume (as measured using the log variability ratio (lnVR) and coefficient of variation ratio (CVR)). We found significant overall decreases in mean volume in 22q11.2DS compared with control for: total brain (g = -0.96; p < 0.001); total grey matter (g = -0.81, p < 0.001); and total white matter (g = -0.81; p < 0.001). There was also a significant overall reduction of mean volume in 22q11.2DS subjects compared with controls in frontal lobe (g = -0.47; p < 0.001), temporal lobe (g = -0.84; p < 0.001), parietal lobe (g = -0.73; p = 0.053), cerebellum (g = -1.25; p < 0.001) and hippocampus (g = -0.90; p < 0.001). Significantly increased variability in 22q11.2DS individuals compared with controls was found only for the hippocampus (VR, 1.14; p = 0.036; CVR, 1.30; p < 0.001), and lateral ventricles (VR, 1.56; p = 0.004). The results support the notion that structural abnormalities in 22q11.2DS and schizophrenia are convergent, and also to some degree with findings in autism spectrum disorder. Finally, the increased variability seen in the hippocampus in 22q11.2DS may underlie some of the heterogeneity observed in the neuropsychiatric phenotype.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1704-1717
Number of pages14
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jan 2020


  • Adolescent
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder/pathology
  • Brain/abnormalities
  • DiGeorge Syndrome/genetics
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Schizophrenia/pathology
  • White Matter/abnormalities

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