Improvement in prefrontal thalamic connectivity during the early course of the illness in recent-onset psychosis: A 12-month longitudinal follow-up resting-state fMRI study

Daniel Bergé, Tyler A. Lesh, Jason Smucny, Cameron S. Carter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background Previous research in resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI) has shown a mixed pattern of disrupted thalamocortical connectivity in psychosis. The clinical meaning of these findings and their stability over time remains unclear. We aimed to study thalamocortical connectivity longitudinally over a 1-year period in participants with recent-onset psychosis. Methods To this purpose, 129 individuals with recent-onset psychosis and 87 controls were clinically evaluated and scanned using rs-fMRI. Among them, 43 patients and 40 controls were re-scanned and re-evaluated 12 months later. Functional connectivity between the thalamus and the rest of the brain was calculated using a seed to voxel approach, and then compared between groups and correlated with clinical features cross-sectionally and longitudinally. Results At baseline, participants with recent-onset psychosis showed increased connectivity (compared to controls) between the thalamus and somatosensory and temporal regions (k = 653, T = 5.712), as well as decreased connectivity between the thalamus and left cerebellum and right prefrontal cortex (PFC; k = 201, T =-4.700). Longitudinal analyses revealed increased connectivity over time in recent-onset psychosis (relative to controls) in the right middle frontal gyrus. Conclusions Our results support the concept of abnormal thalamic connectivity as a core feature in psychosis. In agreement with a non-degenerative model of illness in which functional changes occur early in development and do not deteriorate over time, no evidence of progressive deterioration of connectivity during early psychosis was observed. Indeed, regionally increased connectivity between thalamus and PFC was observed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPsychological medicine
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2020

Keywords

  • first-episode psychosis
  • fMRI
  • resting state
  • schizophrenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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