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Functional disconnection between subsystems of the default mode network in schizophrenia

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 November 2020

Fengmei Fan
Affiliation:
Beijing Huilongguan Hospital, Peking University Huilongguan Clinical Medical School, Beijing 100096, China State Key Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience and Learning & International Data Group/McGovern Institute for Brain Research, Center for Collaboration and Innovation in Brain and Learning Sciences, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
Shuping Tan
Affiliation:
Beijing Huilongguan Hospital, Peking University Huilongguan Clinical Medical School, Beijing 100096, China
Junchao Huang
Affiliation:
Beijing Huilongguan Hospital, Peking University Huilongguan Clinical Medical School, Beijing 100096, China
Song Chen
Affiliation:
Beijing Huilongguan Hospital, Peking University Huilongguan Clinical Medical School, Beijing 100096, China
Hongzhen Fan
Affiliation:
Beijing Huilongguan Hospital, Peking University Huilongguan Clinical Medical School, Beijing 100096, China
Zhiren Wang
Affiliation:
Beijing Huilongguan Hospital, Peking University Huilongguan Clinical Medical School, Beijing 100096, China
Chiang-Shan R. Li
Affiliation:
Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA
Yunlong Tan*
Affiliation:
Beijing Huilongguan Hospital, Peking University Huilongguan Clinical Medical School, Beijing 100096, China
*
Author for correspondence: Yunlong Tan, E-mail: yltan21@126.com

Abstract

Background

A dysfunctional default mode network (DMN) has been reported in patients with schizophrenia. However, the stability of the deficits has not been determined across different stages of the disorder.

Methods

We examined the functional connectivity of the DMN subsystems of 125 patients with first-episode schizophrenia (FES) or recurrent schizophrenia (RES), compared to that of 82 healthy controls. We tested the robustness of the findings in an independent cohort of 158 patients and 39 healthy controls. We performed resting-state functional connectivity analysis, and examined the strength of the connections within and between the three subsystems of the DMN (core, dorsal medial prefrontal cortex [dMPFC], and medial temporal lobe [MTL]). We also analyzed the connectivity correlations to symptoms and illness duration.

Results

We found reduced connectivity strength between the core and MTL subsystems in schizophrenia patients compared to controls, with no differences between the FES and RES patient groups; these findings were validated in the second sample. Schizophrenia patients also showed a significant reduction in connectivity within the MTL and between the dMPFC−MTL subsystems, similarly between FES and RES groups. The connectivity strength within the core subsystem was negatively correlated with clinical symptoms in schizophrenia. There was no significant correlation between the DMN subsystem connectivity and illness duration.

Conclusions

DMN subsystem connectivity deficits are present in schizophrenia, and the homochronicity of their appearance indicates the trait-like nature of these alterations. The DMN deficit may be useful for early diagnosis, and MTL dysfunction may be a crucial mechanism underlying schizophrenia.

Type
Original Article
Copyright
Copyright © The Author(s), 2020. Published by Cambridge University Press

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