Inferior frontal and insular cortical thinning is related to dysfunctional brain activation/deactivation during working memory task in schizophrenic patients

Psychiatry Res. 2013 Nov 30;214(2):94-101. doi: 10.1016/j.pscychresns.2013.06.008. Epub 2013 Aug 29.


Although working memory is known to be impaired in schizophrenia the anatomical and functional relationships underlying this deficit remain to be elucidated. A combined imaging approach involving functional and structural magnetic resonance techniques was used, applying independent component analysis and surface-based morphometry to 14 patients with schizophrenia and 14 healthy controls. Neurocognitive functioning was assessed by a neuropsychological test battery that measured executive function. It was hypothesized that working memory dysfunctional connectivity in schizophrenia is related to underlying anatomical abnormalities. Patients with schizophrenia showed cortical thinning in the left inferior frontal gyrus and insula, which explained 57% of blood oxygenation level-dependent signal magnitude in functional magnetic resonance imaging in the central executive network (lateral prefrontal and parietal cortex) over-activation and default mode network (anterior and posterior cingulate) deactivation. No structure-function relationship emerged in the healthy control group. The study provides evidence to suggest that dysfunctional activation/deactivation patterns in schizophrenia may be explained in terms of underlying gray matter deficits.

Keywords: CEN; Central executive network; Cortical thickness; DMN; Default mode network; Independent component analysis; Salience network; Schizophrenia; central executive network; default mode network.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cerebral Cortex / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Linear Models
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Memory Disorders / diagnosis
  • Memory Disorders / etiology*
  • Memory, Short-Term / physiology*
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Oxygen / blood
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Schizophrenia / complications*
  • Schizophrenia / pathology*
  • Schizophrenic Psychology
  • Young Adult


  • Oxygen