Altered Fronto-Temporal Functional Connectivity in Individuals at Ultra-High-Risk of Developing Psychosis

PLoS One. 2015 Aug 12;10(8):e0135347. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0135347. eCollection 2015.


Background: The superior temporal gyrus (STG) is one of the key regions implicated in psychosis, given that abnormalities in this region are associated with an increased risk of conversion from an at-risk mental state to psychosis. However, inconsistent results regarding the functional connectivity strength of the STG have been reported, and the regional heterogeneous characteristics of the STG should be considered.

Methods: To investigate the distinctive functional connection of each subregion in the STG, we parcellated the STG of each hemisphere into three regions: the planum temporale, Heschl's gyrus, and planum polare. Resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging was obtained from 22 first-episode psychosis (FEP) patients, 41 individuals at ultra-high-risk for psychosis (UHR), and 47 demographically matched healthy controls.

Results: Significant group differences (in seed-based connectivity) were demonstrated in the left planum temporale and from both the right and left Heschl's gyrus seeds. From the left planum temporale seed, the FEP and UHR groups exhibited increased connectivity to the bilateral dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. In contrast, the FEP and UHR groups demonstrated decreased connectivity from the bilateral Heschl's gyrus seeds to the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex. The enhanced connectivity between the left planum temporale and right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex was positively correlated with positive symptom severity in individuals at UHR (r = .34, p = .03).

Conclusions: These findings corroborate the fronto-temporal connectivity disruption hypothesis in schizophrenia by providing evidence supporting the altered fronto-temporal intrinsic functional connection at earlier stages of psychosis. Our data indicate that subregion-specific aberrant fronto-temporal interactions exist in the STG at the early stage of psychosis, thus suggesting that these aberrancies are the neural underpinning of proneness to psychosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Connectome*
  • Female
  • Frontal Lobe / physiology*
  • Frontal Lobe / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Psychotic Disorders / diagnosis
  • Psychotic Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Temporal Lobe / physiology*
  • Temporal Lobe / physiopathology

Grant support

This study was supported by Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning (Grant no. 2013R1A2A1A03071089). The Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning had no role in the design and conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis, and interpretation of the data; and preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript; and decision to submit the manuscript for publication.