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Previous studies in schizophrenia revealed abnormalities in the cortico-cerebellar-thalamo-cortical circuit (CCTCC) pathway, suggesting the necessity for defining thalamic subdivisions in understanding alterations of brain connectivity.
To parcellate the thalamus into several subdivisions using a data-driven method, and to evaluate the role of each subdivision in the alterations of CCTCC functional connectivity in patients with schizophrenia.
There were 54 patients with schizophrenia and 42 healthy controls included in this study. First, the thalamic structural and functional connections computed, based on diffusion magnetic resonance imaging (MRI, white matter tractography) and resting-state functional MRI, were clustered to parcellate thalamus. Next, functional connectivity of each thalamus subdivision was investigated, and the alterations in thalamic functional connectivity for patients with schizophrenia were inspected.
Based on the data-driven parcellation method, six thalamic subdivisions were defined. Loss of connectivity was observed between several thalamic subdivisions (superior-anterior, ventromedial and dorsolateral part of the thalamus) and the sensorimotor system, anterior cingulate cortex and cerebellum in patients with schizophrenia. A gradual pattern of dysconnectivity was observed across the thalamic subdivisions. Additionally, the altered connectivity negatively correlated with symptom scores and duration of illness in individuals with schizophrenia.
The findings of the study revealed a wide range of thalamic functional dysconnectivity in the CCTCC pathway, increasing our understanding of the relationship between the CCTCC pathway and symptoms associated with schizophrenia, and further indicating a potential alteration pattern in the thalamic nuclei in people with schizophrenia.
This chapter focuses on classic congenital central hypoventilation syndrome (CCHS) cases in which symptoms appear early in life. The principal issues in CCHS are to determine what brain structures are damaged in CCHS to cause the loss of CO2 and O2 sensitivity, disturbances in autonomic function, and other affective and cognitive deficits. Among the processes affected in CCHS appears to be the integrity of multiple neurotransmitter systems. Structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) procedures provide a valuable means to assess gray and white matter injury and impaired brain function in the syndrome, and, in the same fashion as numerous other disease processes, the descriptions have the potential to reveal normal mechanisms for serving breathing and autonomic functions. Injury in cognitive and memory regulatory areas has also been revealed. As MRI technology improves, further differentiation of the nature of injury, especially finer discrimination of fiber injury, will be possible.