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Front Psychol. 2017 Feb 27;8:56. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2017.00056. eCollection 2017.

Task Performance Modulates Functional Connectivity Involving the Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex in Patients with Schizophrenia.

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Department of Psychiatry, Renmin Hospital of Wuhan University Wuhan, China.
Department of Psychiatry, Renmin Hospital of Wuhan UniversityWuhan, China; Hubei Provincial Key Laboratory of Developmentally Originated DiseaseWuhan, China.
Department of Radiology, Renmin Hospital of Wuhan University Wuhan, China.
CAS Key Laboratory of Behavioral Science, Institute of PsychologyBeijing, China; Department of Psychology, University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijing, China.
Brainnetome Center, Institute of Automatuon, Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijing, China; Key Laboratory for NeuroInformation of the Ministry of Education, School of Life Science and Technology of ChinaChengdu, China.
Department of Psychiatry, Renmin Hospital of Wuhan UniversityWuhan, China; Hubei Institute of Neurology and Psychiatry ResearchWuhan, China; Hubei University of Science and TechnologyXianning, China.


Previous studies have suggested that patients with schizophrenia and healthy controls exhibit differential activation of and connectivity involving the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) during working memory tasks, though their findings remain inconsistent. The functional integration perspective further suggests that working memory performance also modulates differences in functional interactions of the DLPFC between patients and controls. To explore this possibility, 45 healthy controls and 45 patients with schizophrenia were recruited to perform a 2-back task during functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Each group was further divided into two subgroups based on task performance to examine the modulatory effect of performance on functional interactions of the DLPFC, as measured via psychophysiological interaction (PPI) analyses. We observed that, in patients with schizophrenia who exhibited impaired working memory capacity and decreased brain activation/deactivation, functional interactions between the right/left DLPFC and angular cortex were decreased relative to those of healthy controls. Furthermore, we observed an interaction effect of working memory performance and diagnosis on functional connectivity between the right/left DLPFC seed region and posterior regions such as the angular cortex, fusiform gyrus, and middle occipital gyrus. This interaction effect was mainly driven by the negative correlation between functional connectivity and performance in healthy controls, and by the positive correlation in patients with schizophrenia. These results demonstrate the effects of inter-individual differences in working memory performance on functional interactions between the DLPFC and posterior regions in patients with schizophrenia as well as healthy controls, which may shed new light on the neural basis of working memory.


N-back; fMRI; fusiform gyrus; inferior parietal lobule (IPL); middle frontal gyrus; psychophysiological interaction (PPI); schizophrenia

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