Transdiagnostic commonalities and differences in resting state functional connectivity of the default mode network in schizophrenia and major depression

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Abstract

Schizophrenia and depression are prevalent psychiatric disorders, but their underlying neural bases remains poorly understood. Neuroimaging evidence has pointed towards the relevance of functional connectivity aberrations in default mode network (DMN) hubs, dorso-medial prefrontal cortex and precuneus, in both disorders, but commonalities and differences in resting state functional connectivity of those two regions across disorders has not been formally assessed. Here, we took a transdiagnostic approach to investigate resting state functional connectivity of those two regions in 75 patients with schizophrenia and 82 controls from 4 scanning sites and 102 patients with depression and 106 controls from 3 sites. Our results demonstrate common dysconnectivity patterns as indexed by a significant reduction of functional connectivity between precuneus and bilateral superior parietal lobe in schizophrenia and depression. Furthermore, our findings highlight diagnosis-specific connectivity reductions of the parietal operculum in schizophrenia relative to depression. In light of evidence that points towards the importance of the DMN for social cognitive abilities and well documented impairments of social interaction in both patient groups, it is conceivable that the observed transdiagnostic connectivity alterations may contribute to interpersonal difficulties, but this could not be assessed directly in our study as measures of social behavior were not available. Given the operculum's role in somatosensory integration, diagnosis-specific connectivity reductions may indicate a pathophysiological mechanism for basic self-disturbances that is characteristic of schizophrenia, but not depression.

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Schilbach, L., Hoffstaedter, F., Müller, V., Cieslik, E. C., Goya-Maldonado, R., Trost, S., … Eickhoff, S. B. (2016). Transdiagnostic commonalities and differences in resting state functional connectivity of the default mode network in schizophrenia and major depression. NeuroImage: Clinical, 10, 326–335. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nicl.2015.11.021

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