Cerebello-thalamo-cortical hyperconnectivity as a state-independent functional neural signature for psychosis prediction and characterization

Nat Commun. 2018 Sep 21;9(1):3836. doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-06350-7.


Understanding the fundamental alterations in brain functioning that lead to psychotic disorders remains a major challenge in clinical neuroscience. In particular, it is unknown whether any state-independent biomarkers can potentially predict the onset of psychosis and distinguish patients from healthy controls, regardless of paradigm. Here, using multi-paradigm fMRI data from the North American Prodrome Longitudinal Study consortium, we show that individuals at clinical high risk for psychosis display an intrinsic "trait-like" abnormality in brain architecture characterized as increased connectivity in the cerebello-thalamo-cortical circuitry, a pattern that is significantly more pronounced among converters compared with non-converters. This alteration is significantly correlated with disorganization symptoms and predictive of time to conversion to psychosis. Moreover, using an independent clinical sample, we demonstrate that this hyperconnectivity pattern is reliably detected and specifically present in patients with schizophrenia. These findings implicate cerebello-thalamo-cortical hyperconnectivity as a robust state-independent neural signature for psychosis prediction and characterization.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Brain / abnormalities*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cohort Studies
  • Connectome*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Principal Component Analysis
  • Psychotic Disorders / diagnostic imaging*
  • Psychotic Disorders / etiology
  • Schizophrenia / diagnostic imaging*
  • Schizophrenia / etiology