Objective: The default mode network (DMN) is active in the brain at rest and de-activated during cognitive tasks. Abnormal function in the DMN has been reported in people with schizophrenia but it is not known whether this applies also to people with a familial risk for psychosis (FR). We compared the activity of the DMN between FR participants and controls.
Methods: We conducted a resting state functional MRI (R-fMRI) in 72 young adults without psychosis and with a history of psychosis in one or both parents (FR group) and 72 age matched controls without parental psychosis, and without current psychosis or a current prodromal syndrome. Both groups were drawn from the Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1986 (Oulu Brain and Mind study). Parental psychosis was established using the Finnish hospital discharge register. We pre-processed R-fMRI data using independent component analysis followed by a dual regression approach to assess differences between the groups. The FR vs. Control group differences were assessed using non-parametric permutation tests utilizing threshold-free cluster enhancement and correcting for multiple comparisons (p<0.05).
Results: FR participants demonstrated significantly lower activity compared with controls in the posterior cingulate cortex, the central node of the DMN. The size of the region was 41 mm(3).
Conclusion: The activity of the DMN differed between FR and control groups. This suggests that familial risk for psychotic disorders may be mediated through genetic effects on connectivity in the posterior cingulate cortex.
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