BACKGROUND:Our previous work on sulcal-gyral brain morphology in healthy volunteers revealed that males were characterized by greater cortical folding in the left versus right anterior cingulate cortex. Given the evidence showing an absence or reversal of normal anatomical asymmetries in patients with schizophrenia, the current study examined the anterior cingulate cortex sulcal-gyral patterns in patients with schizophrenia. METHODS:Using high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging, we examined anterior cingulate cortex surface morphology in a group of 55 patients with established schizophrenia and 75 healthy controls. All subjects were male and right-handed. Depending on the presence of a paracingulate sulcus and its antero-posterior extent, three types of anterior cingulate cortex sulcal patterns were identified: "prominent," "present," and "absent." Measures of overall cerebral hemispheric folding were used as independent variables and as covariates to ascertain the specificity of the findings to the anterior cingulate cortex. RESULTS:Examination of anterior cingulate cortex morphology showed that, compared with controls, patients with schizophrenia lacked the leftward anterior cingulate cortex sulcal asymmetry, which was explained by reduced folding in the left anterior cingulate cortex. These differences were over and above differences in cortical folding across the entire left hemisphere. CONCLUSIONS:These findings suggest that, in male patients with schizophrenia, there is a disturbance in the neurodevelopment of the left anterior cingulate cortex, as well as a more general aberration of left hemisphere development.