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The authors evaluated cerebral blood flow response in schizophrenia patients during face perception to test the hypothesis of diminished limbic activation related to emotional relevance of facial stimuli.
Thirteen patients with schizophrenia and 17 comparison subjects viewed facial displays of happiness, sadness, surprise, anger, fear, and disgust as well as neutral faces using the Japanese and Caucasian Facial Expressions of Emotion and Neutral Faces (Matsumoto and Ekman, 1988). Functional magnetic resonance imaging was used to measure blood-oxygen-level-dependent signal changes as the subjects alternated between tasks of discriminating sex with an interleaved reference condition.
The groups did not differ in performance on the task. Healthy participants showed activation in the bilateral fusiform gyrus, medial temporal structures, occipital lobe, and inferior frontal cortex relative to the baseline condition. The increase was greater these regions in the right hemisphere than those in the left hemisphere. In the patients with schizophrenia, minimal focal response in the right fusiform gyrus, medial temporal structures, and occipital lobe was observed for the facial perception task relative to the baseline condition. Contrasting patients and comparison subjects revealed voxels in the left medial temporal structures, occipital lobe in which the healthy comparison subjects had significantly greater activation.
Impaired activation was seen in patients with schizophrenia for detection of facial attributes such as sex. Impairment in the medial temporal structure such as amygdale may lead to misunderstanding of social communication and may underlie difficulties in social adjustment experienced by people with schizophrenia.
Although longitudinal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies have shown that various brain regions undergo progressive tissue loss during the early phases of schizophrenia, regional pattern of these changes remain unclear.
Longitudinal MRI data were obtained from 18 (12 males and 6 females) patients with first-episode schizophrenia and 20 (11 males and 9 females) healthy controls and at baseline and follow-up with mean scan interval of 2.7 years. To compare gray matter changes over time between patients and controls were evaluated with voxel-based morphometry (VBM) using SPM8 following the longitudinal DARTEL protocol.
In both groups of patient and control longitudinal gray mater reduction was observed in various brain regions including lateral and medial frontal regions and superior temporal region. Excessive decrease in gray matter was found in patients as compared to healthy controls in the left superior temporal region and right inferior frontal region.
Our findings suggest that there are differing longitudinal gray matter changes in patients with schizophrenia during the early phases of the illness as compared to healthy individuals.
The purpose of this study was to determine if perospirone, a second generation antipsychotic drug and partial agonist at serotonin-5-HT1A receptors, enhances electrophysiological activity, such as event-related potentials (ERPs), in frontal brain regions, as well as cognitive function in subjects with schizophrenia. P300 current source images were obtained by means of standardized low resolution brain electromagnetic tomography (sLORETA) before and after treatment with perospirone for 6 months. Perospirone significantly increased P300 current source density in the left superior frontal gyrus, and improved positive symptoms and performance on the script tasks, a measure of verbal social cognition. Perospirone also tended to enhance verbal learning memory in patients with schizophrenia. There was a significant correlation between the changes in P300 amplitudes on the left frontal lead and those in social cognition. These results suggest the changes in three-dimensional distribution of cortical activity, as demonstrated by sLORETA, may mediate some of the actions of antipsychotic drugs. the distinct cognition-enhancing profile of perospirone may be related to its actions on 5-HT1A receptors.
Impaired self-awareness has been noted as a core feature of schizophrenia. Recent neuroimaging studies examining self-referential process in schizophrenia have yielded inconsistent results. We aimed to examine the self-referential neural network using the self- and other-evaluation tasks in schizophrenia.
Fifteen schizophrenia patients and fifteen age-, sex- and parental education-matched healthy subjects underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging. Subjects were required to make a decision whether the sentence described their own personal trait (self-evaluation) and that of their close friends (other-evaluation).
Both patients and healthy groups showed significant activation in multiple brain regions including the medial- and lateral-prefrontal, temporal and parietal cortices during self- and other-evaluation tasks. The control subjects showed higher activations in left posterior cingulate and parahippocampal gyri during self-evaluation than other-evaluation, whereas there was no difference in activated regions between self- and other-conditions in the patients. As compared with the controls, the patients showed higher activations in the right superior frontal and right supramarginal gyri during self-evaluation.
These findings provide evidence for neural basis for deficits in self-awareness in schizophrenia and may underlie core clinical symptomatology of schizophrenia.
Psychiatric disorders as well as subcortical brain volumes are highly heritable. Large-scale genome-wide association studies (GWASs) for these traits have been performed. We investigated the genetic correlations between five psychiatric disorders and the seven subcortical brain volumes and the intracranial volume from large-scale GWASs by linkage disequilibrium score regression. We revealed weak overlaps between the genetic variants associated with psychiatric disorders and subcortical brain and intracranial volumes, such as in schizophrenia and the hippocampus and bipolar disorder and the accumbens. We confirmed shared aetiology and polygenic architecture across the psychiatric disorders and the specific subcortical brain and intracranial volume.
The presence of the fermentable sugar d-mannitol in the diet improves nitrogen (N) utilization in rabbits. To clarify the mechanism by which d-mannitol improves N utilization, we studied the effect of d-mannitol on the fate of blood urea N in growing rabbits. Growing rabbits received a control diet or a diet containing d-mannitol, which were formulated by adding 80 g/kg glucose or d-mannitol to timothy hay. After 9 days of feeding of the experimental diets, 15N-urea was administrated intravenously under anesthesia 1 h before slaughter. The blood urea level (concentration of both urea N (43.6% of the control group (CG), P < 0.05) and 15N (95% of the CG, P < 0.05) in blood serum) was reduced in the mannitol group. The concentration and amount of N, and 15N atom % excess in the contents of the cecum and colon were higher (P < 0.05) in the rabbits fed the mannitol diet than in rabbits fed the control diet, especially in the cecum. The consumption of mannitol caused bacterial proliferation in the cecum characterized by marked short-chain fatty acid production (165% of the CG, P < 0.05), decreased cecal ammonia N (73% of the CG, P < 0.05) and elevated cecal bacterial N (150% of the CG, P < 0.05). On the other hand, addition of d-mannitol to the diet decreased N (80% of the CG, P < 0.05) and 15N (77% of the CG, P < 0.05) excretion in the urine. These results indicate that d-mannitol increases the transfer of blood urea N to the large intestine, where it is used for bacterial N synthesis.
An electron diffraction technique called D-STEM has been developed in a transmission electron microscopy/scanning transmission electron microscopy (TEM/STEM) instrument to obtain spot electron diffraction patterns from nanostructures, as small as ∼3 nm. The electron ray path achieved by configuring the pre- and postspecimen illumination lenses enables the formation of a 1–2 nm near-parallel probe, which is used to obtain bright-field/dark-field STEM images. Under these conditions, the beam can be controlled and accurately positioned on the STEM image, at the nanostructure of interest, while sharp spot diffraction patterns can be simultaneously recorded on the charge-coupled device camera. When integrated with softwares such as GatanTM STEM diffraction imaging and Automated Crystallography for TEM or DigistarTM, NanoMEGAS, the D-STEM technique is very powerful for obtaining automated orientation and phase maps based on diffraction information acquired on a pixel by pixel basis. The versatility of the D-STEM technique is demonstrated by applying this technique to nanoparticles, nanowires, and nano interconnect structures.
Wolbachia bacteria are among the most common endosymbionts in insects. In Wolbachia research, the Wolbachia surface protein (wsp) gene has been used as a phylogenetic tool, but relationships inferred by single-locus analysis can be unreliable because of the extensive genome recombination among Wolbachia strains. Therefore, a multilocus sequence typing (MLST) method for Wolbachia, which relies upon a set of five conserved genes, is recommended. In this study, we examined whether the alnus ambrosia beetle, Xylosandrus germanus (Blandford), is infected with Wolbachia using wsp and MLST genes. Wolbachia was detected from all tested specimens of X. germanus (n=120) by wsp amplification. Five distinct sequences (i.e. five alleles) for wsp were found, and labeled as wXge1–5. MLST analysis and molecular phylogeny of concatenated sequences of MLST genes identified wXge3 and wXge5 as closely-related strains. The detection rate of wXge4 and wXge1 was 100% and 63.3%, respectively; wXge2, wXge3 and wXge5 were detected from less than 15% of specimens. We performed mitochondrial haplotype analyses that identified three genetic types of X. germanus, i.e. Clades A, B and C. Wsp alleles wXge1, wXge2 and wXge4 were detected in all clade A beetles; wXge2 allele was absent from Clades B and C. We concluded that (i) five wsp alleles were found from X. germanus, (ii) use of MLST genes, rather than the wsp gene, are more suited to construct Wolbachia phylogenies and (iii) wsp alleles wXge2 and wXge3/wXge5 would infect clade A and clade B/C of X. germanus, respectively.
Few electron optical inventions have revolutionized the TEM/ STEM as profoundly as the spherical aberration (Cs) corrector has. Characterization of technologically important materials increasingly needs to be done at the atomic or even sub-atomic level. This characterization includes determination of atomic structure as well as structural chemistry. With Cs correctors, the sub-Angstrom imaging barrier has been passed, and fast atomic scale spectroscopy is possible. In addition to improvements in resolution, Cs correctors offer a number of other significant improvements and benefits.