Background: Schizophrenia has been conceptualized as a disorder of integration of neural activity across distributed networks. However, the relationship between specific symptom dimensions and patterns of functional connectivity remains unclear. The current study aimed to investigate the relationship between auditory-verbal hallucinations (AVH), a particularly prevalent and clinically relevant symptom in schizophrenia, and functional connectivity of the temporo-parietal junction (TPJ).
Methods: Resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging scans were obtained from 27 schizophrenia patients with AVH and 27 matched control subjects. We calculated correlations reflecting functional connectivity between a priori defined regions-of-interest and the bilateral TPJ seed regions, comprising the neural network involved in inner speech processes and AVH.
Results: Compared with healthy control subjects, schizophrenia patients showed reduced functional connectivity between left TPJ and the right homotope of Broca. Within the patient group, more severe AVH were associated with reduced neural coupling between left TPJ and bilateral anterior cingulate as well as the bilateral amygdala.
Conclusions: In schizophrenia patients with chronic hallucinations, the left TPJ-a critical node in the speech perception/AVH network-shows reduced functional connectivity with brain areas involved in the attribution of agency, self-referent processing, and attentional control.
Copyright 2010 Society of Biological Psychiatry. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.