Brain functional connectivity of male patients in remission after the first episode of schizophrenia



Objectives: Abnormal task-related activation and connectivity is present in schizophrenia. The aim of this study was the analysis of functional networks in schizophrenia patients in remission after the first episode. Experimental design: Twenty-nine male patients in remission after the first episode of schizophrenia and 22 healthy controls underwent examination by functional magnetic resonance during verbal fluency tasks (VFT). The functional connectivity of brain networks was analyzed using independent component analysis. Results: The patients showed lower activation of the salience network during VFT. They also showed lower deactivation of the default mode network (DMN) during VFT processing. Spectral analysis of the component time courses showed decreased power in slow frequencies of signal fluctuations in the salience and DMNs and increased power in higher frequencies in the left frontoparietal cortex reflecting higher fluctuations of the network activity. Moreover, there was decreased similarity of component time courses in schizophrenia—the patients had smaller negative correlation between VFT activated and deactivated networks, and smaller positive correlations between DMN subcomponents. Conclusions: There is still an abnormal functional connectivity of several brain networks in remission after the first episode of schizophrenia. The effect of different treatment modalities on brain connectivity, together with temporal dynamics of this functional abnormality should be the objective of further studies to assess its potential as a marker of disease stabilization. Hum Brain Mapp, 2013. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.