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Schizophr Bull. 2020 Feb 13. pii: sbaa008. doi: 10.1093/schbul/sbaa008. [Epub ahead of print]

Dysbalanced Resting-State Functional Connectivity Within the Praxis Network Is Linked to Gesture Deficits in Schizophrenia.

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Translational Research Center, University Hospital of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland.
Neurology and Neurorehabilitation Center, Kantonsspital Luzern, Luzern, Switzerland.
Department of Clinical Research, University Hospital of Bern, Inselspital, Bern, Switzerland.
Institute of Neuroradiology, University Hospital of Bern, Inselspital, Bern, Switzerland.


Patients with schizophrenia frequently present deficits in gesture production and interpretation, greatly affecting their communication skills. As these gesture deficits can be found early in the course of illness and as they can predict later outcomes, exploring their neural basis may lead to a better understanding of schizophrenia. While gesturing has been reported to rely on a left lateralized network of brain regions, termed praxis network, in healthy subjects and lesioned patients, studies in patients with schizophrenia are sparse. It is currently unclear whether within-network connectivity at rest is linked to gesture deficit. Here, we compared the functional connectivity between regions of the praxis network at rest between 46 patients and 44 healthy controls. All participants completed a validated test of hand gesture performance before resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) was acquired. Patients performed gestures poorer than controls in all categories and domains. In patients, we also found significantly higher resting-state functional connectivity between left precentral gyrus and bilateral superior and inferior parietal lobule. Likewise, patients had higher connectivity from right precentral gyrus to left inferior and bilateral superior parietal lobule (SPL). In contrast, they exhibited lower connectivity between bilateral superior temporal gyrus (STG). Connectivity between right precentral gyrus and left SPL, as well as connectivity between bilateral STG, correlated with gesture performance in healthy controls. We failed to detect similar correlations in patients. We suggest that altered resting-state functional connectivity within the praxis network perturbs correct gesture planning in patients, reflecting the gesture deficit often seen in schizophrenia.


TULIA; fMRI; gesture performance; nonverbal communication; psychosis


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