Altered functional connectivity between sub-regions in the thalamus and cortex in schizophrenia patients measured by resting state BOLD fMRI at 7T

Jun Hua, Nicholas I.S. Blair, Adrian Paez, Ann Choe, Anita D. Barber, Allison Brandt, Issel Anne L. Lim, Feng Xu, Vidyulata Kamath, James J. Pekar, Peter C.M. van Zijl, Christopher A. Ross, Russell L. Margolis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The thalamus is a small brain structure that relays neuronal signals between subcortical and cortical regions. Abnormal thalamocortical connectivity in schizophrenia has been reported in previous studies using blood-oxygenation-level-dependent (BOLD)functional MRI (fMRI)performed at 3T. However, anatomically the thalamus is not a single entity, but is subdivided into multiple distinct nuclei with different connections to various cortical regions. We sought to determine the potential benefit of using the enhanced sensitivity of BOLD fMRI at ultra-high magnetic field (7T)in exploring thalamo-cortical connectivity in schizophrenia based on subregions in the thalamus. Seeds placed in thalamic subregions of 14 patients and 14 matched controls were used to calculate whole-brain functional connectivity. Our results demonstrate impaired thalamic connectivity to the prefrontal cortex and the cerebellum, but enhanced thalamic connectivity to the motor/sensory cortex in schizophrenia. This altered functional connectivity significantly correlated with disease duration in the patients. Remarkably, comparable effect sizes observed in previous 3T studies were detected in the current 7T study with a heterogeneous and much smaller cohort, providing evidence that ultra-high field fMRI may be a powerful tool for measuring functional connectivity abnormalities in schizophrenia. Further investigation with a larger cohort is merited to validate the current findings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)370-377
Number of pages8
JournalSchizophrenia Research
Volume206
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2019

Keywords

  • Biomarker
  • High field
  • Imaging
  • Psychosis
  • Thalamus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

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