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Schizophr Res. 2019 Jan 23. pii: S0920-9964(18)30737-0. doi: 10.1016/j.schres.2018.12.041. [Epub ahead of print]

Altered functional connectivity and low-frequency signal fluctuations in early psychosis and genetic high risk.

Author information

1
Department of Psychiatry, 1st Affiliated Hospital of China Medical University, Shenyang, Liaoning 110001, China; Department of Gerontology, 1st Affiliated Hospital of China Medical University, Shenyang, Liaoning 110001, China. Electronic address: yanqingtang@163.com.
2
Department of Psychiatry, 1st Affiliated Hospital of China Medical University, Shenyang, Liaoning 110001, China; Department of Psychiatry, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06511, USA.
3
Brain Function Research Section, Department of Radiology, 1st Affiliated Hospital of China Medical University, Shenyang, Liaoning 110001, China.
4
Department of Psychology, Yale University, USA; Centre for Outcomes Research and Evaluation, Yale-New Haven Hospital, USA.
5
Department of Biostatistics, Yale School of Public Health, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.
6
Department of Gerontology, 1st Affiliated Hospital of China Medical University, Shenyang, Liaoning 110001, China.
7
Department of Psychology, Yale University, USA.
8
Department of Psychiatry, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06511, USA; Veterans Affairs Connecticut Health System, West Haven, CT 06516, USA.
9
Department of Psychiatry, 1st Affiliated Hospital of China Medical University, Shenyang, Liaoning 110001, China.
10
Department of Psychiatry, 1st Affiliated Hospital of China Medical University, Shenyang, Liaoning 110001, China; Department of Psychiatry, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06511, USA; Department of Psychology, Yale University, USA.

Abstract

Studying individuals at increased genetic risk for schizophrenia may generate important theories regarding the emergence of the illness. In this investigation, genetic high-risk individuals (GHR, n = 37) were assessed with functional magnetic resonance imaging and compared to individuals in the first episode of schizophrenia (FESZ, n = 42) and healthy comparison subjects (HCS, n = 59). Measures of functional connectivity and the amplitude of low-frequency fluctuation (ALFF) were obtained in a global, data-driven analysis. The functional connectivity measure, termed degree centrality, assessed each voxel's connectivity with all the other voxels in the brain. GHR and FESZ displayed increased degree centrality globally and locally. On ALFF measures, GHR were indistinguishable from HCS in the majority of areas but resembled FESZ in insula, basal ganglia and hippocampus. FESZ evidenced reduced amplitude of the global neural signal as compared to HCS and GHR. Results support the hypothesis that schizophrenia diathesis involves functional connectivity and ALFF abnormalities. In addition, they further an emerging theory suggesting that increased connectivity and metabolism may be involved in schizophrenia vulnerability and early stages of the illness.

KEYWORDS:

ALFF; At-risk populations; Early psychosis; Functional brain connectivity; Genetics; Schizophrenia

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