Background: Childhood-onset schizophrenia (COS) is a rare, severe form of the adult-onset disorder (AOS). Our previous resting-state fMRI study identified attenuated functional connectivity in COS compared with controls. Here, we ask whether COS and AOS patients and their siblings exhibit similar abnormalities of functional connectivity.
Methods: A whole-brain, data-driven approach was used to assess resting-state functional connectivity differences in COS (patients/siblings/controls, n: 26/28/33) and AOS (n: 19/28/30). There were no significant differences in age, sex, or head motion across groups in each dataset and as designed, the COS dataset has a significantly lower age than the AOS.
Results: Both COS and AOS patients showed decreased functional connectivity relative to controls among a wide set of brain regions (P<0.05, corrected), but their siblings did not. Decreased connectivity in COS and AOS patients showed no amplitude differences and was not modulated by age-at-onset or medication doses. Cluster analysis revealed that these regions fell into two large-scale networks: one sensorimotor network and one centered on default-mode network regions, but including higher-order cognitive areas only in COS. Decreased connectivity between these two networks was notable (P<0.05, corrected) for both patient groups.
Conclusions: A shared pattern of attenuated functional connectivity was found in COS and AOS, supporting the continuity of childhood-onset and adult-onset schizophrenia. Connections were altered between sensorimotor areas and default-mode areas in both COS and AOS, suggesting potential abnormalities in processes of self-monitoring and sensory prediction. The absence of substantial dysconnectivity in siblings indicates that attenuation is state-related.
Keywords: Childhood psychosis; Network connectivity; Neurodevelopment.
Published by Elsevier B.V.