Background: Dysconnectivity between brain regions is thought to underlie the cognitive abnormalities that characterise schizophrenia (SZ). Consistent with this notion functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) studies in SZ have reliably provided evidence of abnormalities in functional integration and in white matter connectivity. Yet little is known about how alterations at the functional level related to abnormalities in anatomical connectivity.
Methods: We obtained fMRI data during the 2-back working memory task from 25 patients with SZ and 19 healthy controls matched for age, sex and IQ. DTI data were also acquired in the same session. In addition to conventional unimodal analyses we extracted "features" [contrast maps for fMRI and fractional anisotropy (FA) for DTI] that were subjected to joint independent component analysis (JICA) in order to examine interactions between fMRI and DTI data sources.
Results: Conventional unimodal analyses revealed both functional and structural deficits in patients with SZ. The JICA identified regions of joint, multimodal brain sources that differed in patients and controls. The fMRI source implicated regions within the anterior cingulate and ventrolateral prefrontal cortex and in the cuneus where patients showed relative hypoactivation and within the frontopolar cortex where patients showed relative hyperactivation. The DTI source localised reduced FA in patients in the splenium and posterior cingulum.
Conclusions: This study promotes our understanding of structure-function relationships in SZ by characterising linked functional and white matter changes that contribute to working memory dysfunction in this disorder.
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