Schizophrenia is a complex disorder that affects perception, cognition, and emotion causing symptoms such as delusions, hallucinations, and suspiciousness. Schizophrenia is also associated with structural cortical abnormalities including lower gray matter (GM) concentration, GM volume, and cortical thickness relative to healthy control individuals. However, the association between GM measures and symptom dimensions in schizophrenia is still not well understood. Here, we applied parallel independent component analysis (pICA), a higher-order statistical approach that identifies covarying patterns within two (or more) data modalities simultaneously, to link covarying brain networks of GM concentration with covarying linear combinations of the positive and negative syndrome scale (PANSS). In a large sample of patients with schizophrenia (n = 337) the association between these two data modalities was investigated. The pICA revealed a distinct PANSS profile characterized by increased delusional symptoms, suspiciousness, hallucinations, and anxiety, that was associated with a pattern of lower GM concentration in inferior temporal gyri and fusiform gyri and higher GM concentration in the sensorimotor cortex. GM alterations replicate previous findings; additionally, applying a multivariate technique, we were able to map a very specific symptom profile onto these GM alterations extending our understanding of cortical abnormalities associated with schizophrenia. Techniques like parallel ICA can reveal linked patterns of alterations across different data modalities that can help to identify biologically-informed phenotypes which might help to improve future treatment targets.
Keywords: Gray matter alterations; Inferior temporal gyrus; Parallel independent component analysis; Positive and negative syndrome scale; Schizophrenia.
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