Altered default network resting state functional connectivity in patients with a first episode of psychosis

Anna Alonso-Solís, Iluminada Corripio, Pilar de Castro-Manglano, Santiago Duran-Sindreu, Manuel Garcia-Garcia, Erika Proal, Fidel Nuñez-Marín, Cesar Soutullo, Enric Alvarez, Beatriz Gómez-Ansón, Clare Kelly, F Xavier Castellanos
Schizophrenia Research 2012, 139 (1-3): 13-8

BACKGROUND: Default network (DN) abnormalities have been identified in patients with chronic schizophrenia using "resting state" functional magnetic resonance imaging (R-fMRI). Here, we examined the integrity of the DN in patients experiencing their first episode of psychosis (FEP) compared with sex- and age-matched healthy controls.

METHODS: We collected R-fMRI data from 19 FEP patients (mean age 24.9 ± 4.8 yrs, 14 males) and 19 healthy controls (26.1 ± 4.8 yrs, 14 males) at 3T. Following standard preprocessing, we examined the functional connectivity (FC) of two DN subsystems and the two DN hubs (P<0.0045, corrected).

RESULTS: Patients with FEP exhibited abnormal FC that appeared largely restricted to the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex (dMPFC) DN subsystem. Relative to controls, FEP patients exhibited weaker positive FC between dMPFC and posterior cingulate cortex (PCC) and precuneus, extending laterally through the parietal lobe to the posterior angular gyrus. Patients with FEP exhibited weaker negative FC between the lateral temporal cortex and the intracalcarine cortex, bilaterally. The PCC and temporo-parietal junction also exhibited weaker negative FC with the right fusiform gyrus extending to the lingual gyrus and lateral occipital cortex, in FEP patients, compared to controls. By contrast, patients with FEP showed stronger negative FC between the temporal pole and medial motor cortex, anterior precuneus and posterior mid-cingulate cortex.

CONCLUSIONS: Abnormalities in the dMPFC DN subsystem in patients with a FEP suggest that FC patterns are altered even in the early stages of psychosis.

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