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The association between executive dysfunction, brain dysconnectivity, and inflammation is a prominent feature across major psychiatric disorders (MPDs), schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depressive disorder. A dimensional approach is warranted to delineate their mechanistic interplay across MPDs.
This single site study included a total of 1543 participants (1058 patients and 485 controls). In total, 1169 participants underwent diffusion tensor and resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (745 patients and 379 controls completed the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test). Fractional anisotropy (FA) and regional homogeneity (ReHo) assessed structural and functional connectivity, respectively. Pro-inflammatory cytokine levels [interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6, and tumor necrosis factor-α] were obtained in 325 participants using blood samples collected with 24 h of scanning. Group differences were determined for main measures, and correlation and mediation analyses and machine learning prediction modeling were performed.
Executive deficits were associated with decreased FA, increased ReHo, and elevated IL-1β and IL-6 levels across MPDs, compared to controls. FA and ReHo alterations in fronto-limbic-striatal regions contributed to executive deficits. IL-1β mediated the association between FA and cognition, and IL-6 mediated the relationship between ReHo and cognition. Executive cognition was better predicted by both brain connectivity and cytokine measures than either one alone for FA-IL-1β and ReHo-IL-6.
Transdiagnostic associations among brain connectivity, inflammation, and executive cognition exist across MPDs, implicating common neurobiological substrates and mechanisms for executive deficits in MPDs. Further, inflammation-related brain dysconnectivity within fronto-limbic-striatal regions may represent a transdiagnostic dimension underlying executive dysfunction that could be leveraged to advance treatment.
Schizophrenia is considered a polygenic disorder. People with schizophrenia and those with genetic high risk of schizophrenia (GHR) have presented with similar neurodevelopmental deficits in hemispheric asymmetry. The potential associations between neurodevelopmental abnormalities and schizophrenia-related risk genes in both schizophrenia and those with GHR remains unclear.
To investigate the shared and specific alternations to the structural network in people with schizophrenia and those with GHR. And to identify an association between vulnerable structural network alternation and schizophrenia-related risk genes.
A total of 97 participants with schizophrenia, 79 participants with GHR and 192 healthy controls, underwent diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) scans at a single site. We used graph theory to characterise hemispheric and whole-brain structural network topological metrics. For 26 people in the schizophrenia group and 48 in the GHR group with DTI scans we also calculated their schizophrenia-related polygenic risk scores (SZ-PRSs). The correlations between alterations to the structural network and SZ-PRSs were calculated. Based on the identified genetic–neural association, bioinformatics enrichment was explored.
There were significant hemispheric asymmetric deficits of nodal efficiency, global and local efficiency in the schizophrenia and GHR groups. Hemispheric asymmetric deficit of local efficiency was significantly positively correlated with SZ-PRSs in the schizophrenia and GHR groups. Bioinformatics enrichment analysis showed that these risk genes may be linked to signal transduction, neural development and neuron structure. The schizophrenia group showed a significant decrease in the whole-brain structural network.
The shared asymmetric deficits in people with schizophrenia and those with GHR, and the association between anomalous asymmetry and SZ-PRSs suggested a vulnerability imaging marker regulated by schizophrenia-related risk genes. Our findings provide new insights into asymmetry regulated by risk genes and provides a better understanding of the genetic–neural pathological underpinnings of schizophrenia.
The prefrontal cortex (PFC) is enormously important in suicide and major depressive disorder (MDD). However, little is known about the structural alterations in the brains of people with MDD and suicidal ideation. We examined the gray matter volume (GMV) of the PFC of individuals with MDD and suicidal ideation to determine if PFC volumetric differences contribute to suicidal ideation in patients with MDD. Thirty-five subjects with MDD and suicidal ideation, 38 subjects with MDD but without suicidal ideation, and 43 age- and gender-matched healthy control (HC) subjects underwent T1-weighted imaging. A voxel-based morphometric analysis was conducted to compare the PFC GMVs of the three groups. Further GMV reductions in the left and right dorsolateral PFC (DLPFC) and right ventrolateral PFC (VLPFC) were detected in the MDD with suicidal ideation group compared with those in the HC group and the MDD without suicidal ideation group, whereas the MDD without suicidal ideation group only exhibited significant differences in the left DLPFC relative to the HC group. Our findings demonstrated that left DLPFC reductions were associated with MDD and suicidal ideation, and diminished GMV reductions in the right DLPFC and right VLPFC were only associated with suicidal ideation. These results help us better understand the neuropathological changes in MDD with suicidal ideation.
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