Imaging of thalamocortical dysrhythmia in neuropsychiatry

Front Hum Neurosci. 2011 Jul 29;5:69. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2011.00069. eCollection 2011.


Abnormal brain activity dynamics, in the sense of a thalamocortical dysrhythmia (TCD), has been proposed as the underlying mechanism for a subset of disorders that bridge the traditional delineations of neurology and neuropsychiatry. In order to test this proposal from a psychiatric perspective, a study using magnetoencephalography (MEG) was implemented in subjects with schizophrenic spectrum disorder (n = 14), obsessive-compulsive disorder (n = 10), or depressive disorder (n = 5) and in control individuals (n = 18). Detailed CNS electrophysiological analysis of these patients, using MEG, revealed the presence of abnormal theta range spectral power with typical TCD characteristics, in all cases. The use of independent component analysis and minimum-norm-based methods localized such TCD to ventromedial prefrontal and temporal cortices. The observed mode of oscillation was spectrally equivalent but spatially distinct from that of TCD observed in other related disorders, including Parkinson's disease, central tinnitus, neuropathic pain, and autism. The present results indicate that the functional basis for much of these pathologies may relate most fundamentally to the category of calcium channelopathies and serve as a model for the cellular substrate for low-frequency oscillations present in these psychiatric disorders, providing a basis for therapeutic strategies.

Keywords: depression; gamma; magnetoencephalography; obsessive–compulsive disorder; schizophrenia; theta.