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Neuropsychopharmacology. 2006 Jan;31(1):221-30.

Correlations between rCBF and symptoms in two independent cohorts of drug-free patients with schizophrenia.

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Maryland Psychiatric Research Center, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21228, USA.


We report on the correlations between whole brain rCBF and the positive and negative symptoms of schizophrenia in two cohorts of patients who were scanned while free of antipsychotic medication. We hypothesized that positive symptoms would correlate with rCBF in limbic and paralimbic regions, and that negative symptoms would correlate with rCBF in frontal and parietal regions. Both cohorts of patients with schizophrenia (Cohort 1: n=32; Cohort 2: n=23) were scanned using PET with H(2)(15)O while free of antipsychotic medication for an average of 21 and 15 days, respectively. Both groups were scanned during a resting state. Using SPM99, we conducted pixel by pixel linear regression analyses between BPRS scores and whole brain rCBF. As hypothesized, positive symptoms correlated with rCBF in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) in a positive direction and with the hippocampus/parahippocampus in a negative direction in both patient groups. When the positive symptoms were further divided into disorganization and hallucination/delusion scores, similar positive correlations with ACC and negative correlations with hippocampus rCBF were found. In both cohorts, the disorganization scores correlated positively with rCBF in Broca's area. As expected, negative symptoms correlated inversely with rCBF in frontal and parietal regions. This study provides evidence that limbic dysfunction may underlie the production of positive symptoms. It suggests that abnormal function of Broca's area may add a specific language-related dimension to positive symptoms. This study also provides further support for an independent neurobiological substrate of negative symptoms distinct from positive symptoms. The involvement of both frontal and parietal regions is implicated in the pathophysiology of negative symptoms.

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