Specific Substantial Dysconnectivity in Schizophrenia: A Transdiagnostic Multimodal Meta-analysis of Resting-State Functional and Structural Magnetic Resonance Imaging Studies

Biol Psychiatry. 2019 Apr 1;85(7):573-583. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2018.12.003. Epub 2018 Dec 11.


Background: This study investigated characteristic large-scale brain changes in schizophrenia. Numerous imaging studies have demonstrated brain changes in schizophrenia, particularly aberrant intrinsic functional connectivity (iFC) of ongoing brain activity, measured by resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging, and aberrant gray matter volume (GMV) of distributed brain regions, measured by structural magnetic resonance imaging. It is unclear, however, which iFC changes are specific to schizophrenia compared with those of other disorders and whether such specific iFC changes converge with GMV changes. To address this question of specific substantial dysconnectivity in schizophrenia, we performed a transdiagnostic multimodal meta-analysis of resting-state functional and structural magnetic resonance imaging studies in schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders.

Methods: Multiple databases were searched up to June 2017 for whole-brain seed-based iFC studies and voxel-based morphometry studies in schizophrenia, major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, addiction, and anxiety. Coordinate-based meta-analyses were performed to detect 1) schizophrenia-specific hyperconnectivity or hypoconnectivity of intrinsic brain networks (compared with hyperconnectivity or hypoconnectivity of each other disorder both separately and combined across comparisons) and 2) the overlap between dysconnectivity and GMV changes (via multimodal conjunction analysis).

Results: For iFC meta-analysis, 173 publications comprising 4962 patients and 4575 control subjects were included, and for GMV meta-analysis, 127 publications comprising 6311 patients and 6745 control subjects were included. Disorder-specific iFC dysconnectivity in schizophrenia (consistent across comparisons with other disorders) was found for limbic, frontoparietal executive, default mode, and salience networks. Disorder-specific dysconnectivity and GMV reductions converged in insula, lateral postcentral cortex, striatum, and thalamus.

Conclusions: Results demonstrated specific substantial dysconnectivity in schizophrenia in insula, lateral postcentral cortex, striatum, and thalamus. Data suggest that these regions are characteristic targets of schizophrenia.

Keywords: Functional connectivity; Functional magnetic resonance imaging; Gray matter volume; Meta-analysis; Schizophrenia; Specific brain changes.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Connectome*
  • Gray Matter* / diagnostic imaging
  • Gray Matter* / pathology
  • Gray Matter* / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Nerve Net* / diagnostic imaging
  • Nerve Net* / pathology
  • Nerve Net* / physiopathology
  • Schizophrenia* / diagnostic imaging
  • Schizophrenia* / pathology
  • Schizophrenia* / physiopathology