Disintegration of Sensorimotor Brain Networks in Schizophrenia.
ABSTRACT: Schizophrenia is a severe mental disorder associated with derogated function across various domains, including perception, language, motor, emotional, and social behavior. Due to its complex symptomatology, schizophrenia is often regarded a disorder of cognitive processes. Yet due to the frequent involvement of sensory and perceptual symptoms, it has been hypothesized that functional disintegration between sensory and cognitive processes mediates the heterogeneous and comprehensive schizophrenia symptomatology.Here, using resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging in 71 patients and 196 healthy controls, we characterized the standard deviation in BOLD (blood-oxygen-level-dependent) signal amplitude and the functional connectivity across a range of functional brain networks. We investigated connectivity on the edge and node level using network modeling based on independent component analysis and utilized the brain network features in cross-validated classification procedures.Both amplitude and connectivity were significantly altered in patients, largely involving sensory networks. Reduced standard deviation in amplitude was observed in a range of visual, sensorimotor, and auditory nodes in patients. The strongest differences in connectivity implicated within-sensorimotor and sensorimotor-thalamic connections. Furthermore, sensory nodes displayed widespread alterations in the connectivity with higher-order nodes. We demonstrated robustness of effects across subjects by significantly classifying diagnostic group on the individual level based on cross-validated multivariate connectivity features.Taken together, the findings support the hypothesis of disintegrated sensory and cognitive processes in schizophrenia, and the foci of effects emphasize that targeting the sensory and perceptual domains may be key to enhance our understanding of schizophrenia pathophysiology.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Childhood-onset schizophrenia (COS) is a rare, severe form of the adult-onset disorder (AOS). Our previous resting-state fMRI study identified attenuated functional connectivity in COS compared with controls. Here, we ask whether COS and AOS patients and their siblings exhibit similar abnormalities of functional connectivity. METHODS:A whole-brain, data-driven approach was used to assess resting-state functional connectivity differences in COS (patients/siblings/controls, n: 26/28/33) and AOS (n: 19/28/30). There were no significant differences in age, sex, or head motion across groups in each dataset and as designed, the COS dataset has a significantly lower age than the AOS. RESULTS:Both COS and AOS patients showed decreased functional connectivity relative to controls among a wide set of brain regions (P<0.05, corrected), but their siblings did not. Decreased connectivity in COS and AOS patients showed no amplitude differences and was not modulated by age-at-onset or medication doses. Cluster analysis revealed that these regions fell into two large-scale networks: one sensorimotor network and one centered on default-mode network regions, but including higher-order cognitive areas only in COS. Decreased connectivity between these two networks was notable (P<0.05, corrected) for both patient groups. CONCLUSIONS:A shared pattern of attenuated functional connectivity was found in COS and AOS, supporting the continuity of childhood-onset and adult-onset schizophrenia. Connections were altered between sensorimotor areas and default-mode areas in both COS and AOS, suggesting potential abnormalities in processes of self-monitoring and sensory prediction. The absence of substantial dysconnectivity in siblings indicates that attenuation is state-related.
Project description:Intrinsic coupling of neuronal assemblies constitutes a key feature of ongoing brain activity, yielding the rich spatiotemporal patterns observed in neuroimaging data and putatively supporting cognitive processes. Intrinsic coupling has been investigated in electrophysiological recordings using two types of functional connectivity measures: amplitude and phase coupling. These two coupling modes differ in their likely causes and functions, and have been proposed to provide complementary insights into intrinsic neuronal interactions. Here, we investigate the relationship between amplitude and phase coupling in source-reconstructed electroencephalography (EEG). Volume conduction is a key obstacle for connectivity analysis in EEG-we therefore also test the envelope correlation of orthogonalized signals and the phase lag index. Functional connectivity between six seed source regions (bilateral visual, sensorimotor, and auditory cortices) and all other cortical voxels was computed. For all four measures, coupling between homologous sensory areas in both hemispheres was significantly higher than with other voxels at the same physical distance. The frequency of significant coupling differed between sensory areas: 10 Hz for visual, 30 Hz for auditory, and 40 Hz for sensorimotor cortices. By contrasting envelope correlations and phase locking values, we observed two distinct clusters of voxels showing a different relationship between amplitude and phase coupling. Large clusters contiguous to the seed regions showed an identity (1:1) relationship between amplitude and phase coupling, whereas a cluster located around the contralateral homologous regions showed higher phase than amplitude coupling. These results show a relationship between intrinsic coupling modes that is distinct from the effect of volume conduction.
Project description:Cognitive deficits are considered a core component of schizophrenia and may predict functional outcome. However, the neural underpinnings of neuropsychological impairment remain to be fully elucidated. Data of 59 schizophrenia patients and 72 healthy controls from a public resting-state fMRI database was employed in our study. Measurement and Treatment Research to Improve Cognition in Schizophrenia (MATRICS) Battery was used to measure deficits of cognitive abilities in schizophrenia. Neural correlates of cognitive deficits in schizophrenia were examined by linear regression analysis of the thalamocortical network activity with scores of seven cognitive domains. We confirmed the combination of reduced prefrontal-thalamic connectivity and increased sensorimotor-thalamic connectivity in patients with schizophrenia. Correlation analysis with cognition revealed that in schizophrenia (1) the thalamic functional connectivity in the bilateral pre- and postcentral gyri was negatively correlated with attention/vigilance and speed of processing (Pearson's r ≤ -0.443, p ≤ 0.042, FWE corrected), and positively correlated with patients' negative symptoms (Pearson's r ≥ 0.375, p ≤ 0.003, FWE corrected); (2) the thalamic functional connectivity in the right cerebellum was positively correlated with speed of processing (Pearson's r = 0.388, p = 0.01, FWE corrected). Our study demonstrates that thalamic hyperconnectivity with sensorimotor areas is related to the severity of cognitive deficits and clinical symptoms, and extends our understanding of the neural underpinnings of "cognitive dysmetria" in schizophrenia.
Project description:In children with unilateral cerebral palsy (uCP), the corticospinal tract (CST)-wiring patterns may differ (contralateral, ipsilateral or bilateral), partially determining motor deficits. However, the impact of such CST-wiring on functional connectivity remains unknown. Here, we explored resting-state sensorimotor functional connectivity in 26 uCP with periventricular white matter lesions (mean age (standard deviation): 12.87 m (±4.5), CST wiring: 9 contralateral, 9 ipsilateral, 6 bilateral) compared to 60 healthy controls (mean age (standard deviation): 14.54 (±4.8)), and between CST-wiring patterns. Functional connectivity from each M1 to three bilateral sensorimotor regions of interest (primary sensory cortex, dorsal and ventral premotor cortex) and the supplementary motor area was compared between groups (controls vs. uCP; and controls vs. each CST-wiring group). Seed-to-voxel analyses from bilateral M1 were compared between groups. Additionally, relations with upper limb motor deficits were explored. Aberrant sensorimotor functional connectivity seemed to be CST-dependent rather than specific from all the uCP population: in the dominant hemisphere, the contralateral CST group showed increased connectivity between M1 and premotor cortices, whereas the bilateral CST group showed higher connectivity between M1 and somatosensory association areas. These results suggest that functional connectivity of the sensorimotor network is CST-wiring-dependent, although the impact on upper limb function remains unclear.
Project description:Spatial variability in resting functional MRI (fMRI) brain networks has not been well studied in schizophrenia, a disease known for both neurodevelopmental and widespread anatomic changes. Motivated by abundant evidence of neuroanatomical variability from previous studies of schizophrenia, we draw upon a relatively new approach called independent vector analysis (IVA) to assess this variability in resting fMRI networks. IVA is a blind-source separation algorithm, which segregates fMRI data into temporally coherent but spatially independent networks and has been shown to be especially good at capturing spatial variability among subjects in the extracted networks. We introduce several new ways to quantify differences in variability of IVA-derived networks between schizophrenia patients (SZs = 82) and healthy controls (HCs = 89). Voxelwise amplitude analyses showed significant group differences in the spatial maps of auditory cortex, the basal ganglia, the sensorimotor network, and visual cortex. Tests for differences (HC-SZ) in the spatial variability maps suggest, that at rest, SZs exhibit more activity within externally focused sensory and integrative network and less activity in the default mode network thought to be related to internal reflection. Additionally, tests for difference of variance between groups further emphasize that SZs exhibit greater network variability. These results, consistent with our prediction of increased spatial variability within SZs, enhance our understanding of the disease and suggest that it is not just the amplitude of connectivity that is different in schizophrenia, but also the consistency in spatial connectivity patterns across subjects.
Project description:Background:Respective changes in resting-state cerebral blood flow (CBF) and functional connectivity in schizophrenia have been reported. However, their coupling alterations in schizophrenia remain largely unknown. Methods:89 schizophrenia patients and 90 sex- and age-matched healthy controls underwent resting-state functional MRI to calculate functional connectivity strength (FCS) and arterial spin labeling imaging to compute CBF. The CBF-FCS coupling of the whole gray matter and the CBF/FCS ratio (the amount of blood supply per unit of connectivity strength) of each voxel were compared between the 2 groups. Results:Whole gray matter CBF-FCS coupling was decreased in schizophrenia patients relative to healthy controls. In schizophrenia patients, the decreased CBF/FCS ratio was predominantly located in cognitive- and emotional-related brain regions, including the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, insula, hippocampus and thalamus, whereas an increased CBF/FCS ratio was mainly identified in the sensorimotor regions, including the putamen, and sensorimotor, mid-cingulate and visual cortices. Conclusion:These findings suggest that the neurovascular decoupling in the brain may be a possible neuropathological mechanism of schizophrenia.
Project description:Schizophrenia is a psychotic disorder characterized by functional dysconnectivity or abnormal integration between distant brain regions. Recent functional imaging studies have implicated large-scale thalamo-cortical connectivity as being disrupted in patients. However, observed connectivity differences in schizophrenia have been inconsistent between studies, with reports of hyperconnectivity and hypoconnectivity between the same brain regions. Using resting state eyes-closed functional imaging and independent component analysis on a multi-site data that included 151 schizophrenia patients and 163 age- and gender matched healthy controls, we decomposed the functional brain data into 100 components and identified 47 as functionally relevant intrinsic connectivity networks. We subsequently evaluated group differences in functional network connectivity, both in a static sense, computed as the pairwise Pearson correlations between the full network time courses (5.4 minutes in length), and a dynamic sense, computed using sliding windows (44 s in length) and k-means clustering to characterize five discrete functional connectivity states. Static connectivity analysis revealed that compared to healthy controls, patients show significantly stronger connectivity, i.e., hyperconnectivity, between the thalamus and sensory networks (auditory, motor and visual), as well as reduced connectivity (hypoconnectivity) between sensory networks from all modalities. Dynamic analysis suggests that (1), on average, schizophrenia patients spend much less time than healthy controls in states typified by strong, large-scale connectivity, and (2), that abnormal connectivity patterns are more pronounced during these connectivity states. In particular, states exhibiting cortical-subcortical antagonism (anti-correlations) and strong positive connectivity between sensory networks are those that show the group differences of thalamic hyperconnectivity and sensory hypoconnectivity. Group differences are weak or absent during other connectivity states. Dynamic analysis also revealed hypoconnectivity between the putamen and sensory networks during the same states of thalamic hyperconnectivity; notably, this finding cannot be observed in the static connectivity analysis. Finally, in post-hoc analyses we observed that the relationships between sub-cortical low frequency power and connectivity with sensory networks is altered in patients, suggesting different functional interactions between sub-cortical nuclei and sensorimotor cortex during specific connectivity states. While important differences between patients with schizophrenia and healthy controls have been identified, one should interpret the results with caution given the history of medication in patients. Taken together, our results support and expand current knowledge regarding dysconnectivity in schizophrenia, and strongly advocate the use of dynamic analyses to better account for and understand functional connectivity differences.
Project description:Individuals with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder show alterations in functional neural connectivity during rest. However, resting-state network (RSN) disruptions have not been systematically compared between the two disorders. Further, the impact of RSN disruptions on social cognition, a key determinant of functional outcome, has not been studied. Forty-eight individuals with schizophrenia, 46 with bipolar disorder, and 48 healthy controls completed resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging. An atlas-based approach was used to examine functional connectivity within nine RSNs across the cortex. RSN connectivity was assessed via nonparametric permutation testing, and associations with performance on emotion perception, mentalizing, and emotion management tasks were examined. Group differences were observed in the medial and lateral visual networks and the sensorimotor network. Individuals with schizophrenia demonstrated reduced connectivity relative to healthy controls in all three networks. Individuals with bipolar disorder demonstrated reduced connectivity relative to controls in the medial visual network and connectivity within this network was significantly positively correlated with emotion management. In healthy controls, connectivity within the medial and lateral visual networks positively correlated with mentalizing. No significant correlations were found for either visual network in schizophrenia. Results highlight the role of altered early visual processing in social cognitive deficits in both schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. However, individuals with bipolar disorder appear to compensate for disrupted visual network connectivity on social cognitive tasks, whereas those with schizophrenia do not. The current study adds clarity on the neurophysiology underlying social cognitive deficits that result in impaired functioning in serious mental illness.
Project description:Schizophrenia is increasingly recognized as a neurodevelopmental disorder with altered connectivity among brain networks. In the current study we examined large-scale network interactions in childhood-onset schizophrenia, a severe form of the disease with salient genetic and neurobiological abnormalities. Using a data-driven analysis of resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging fluctuations, we characterized data from 19 patients with schizophrenia and 26 typically developing controls, group matched for age, sex, handedness, and magnitude of head motion during scanning. This approach identified 26 regions with decreased functional correlations in schizophrenia compared to controls. These regions were found to organize into two function-related networks, the first with regions associated with social and higher-level cognitive processing, and the second with regions involved in somatosensory and motor processing. Analyses of across- and within-network regional interactions revealed pronounced across-network decreases in functional connectivity in the schizophrenia group, as well as a set of across-network relationships with overall negative coupling indicating competitive or opponent network dynamics. Critically, across-network decreases in functional connectivity in schizophrenia predicted the severity of positive symptoms in the disorder, such as hallucinations and delusions. By contrast, decreases in functional connectivity within the social-cognitive network of regions predicted the severity of negative symptoms, such as impoverished speech and flattened affect. These results point toward the role that abnormal integration of sensorimotor and social-cognitive processing may play in the pathophysiology and symptomatology of schizophrenia.