The task-positive network (TPN) is anticorrelated with activity in the default mode network (DMN), and possibly reflects competition between the processing of external and internal information, while the salience network (SN) is pivotal in regulating TPN and DMN activity. Because abnormal functional connectivity in these networks has been related to schizophrenia, we tested whether alterations are also evident in subjects at risk for psychosis. Resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging was tested in 28 subjects with basic symptoms reporting subjective cognitive-perceptive symptoms; 19 with attenuated or brief, limited psychotic symptoms; and 29 matched healthy controls. We characterized spatial differences in connectivity patterns, as well as internetwork connectivity. Right anterior insula (rAI) was selected as seed region for identifying the SN; medioprefrontal cortex (MPFC) for the DMN and TPN. The 3 groups differed in connectivity patterns between the MPFC and right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (rDLPFC), and between the rAI and posterior cingulate cortex (PCC). In particular, the typically observed antagonistic relationship in MPFC-rDLPFC, rAI-PCC, and internetwork connectivity of DMN-TPN was absent in both at-risk groups. Notably, those connectivity patterns were associated with symptoms related to reality distortions, whereas enhanced connectivity strengths of MPFC-rDLPFC and TPN-DMN were related to poor performance in cognitive functions. We propose that the loss of a TPN-DMN anticorrelation, accompanied by an aberrant spatial extent in the DMN, TPN, and SN in the psychosis risk state, reflects the confusion of internally and externally focused states and disturbance of cognition, as seen in psychotic disorders.
Keywords: anterior insula; anticorrelated networks; brain; central executive network; functional connectivity; intrinsic connectivity; prodrome; resting-state fMRI; schizophrenia.
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