Multimodal Neuroimaging Study of Visual Plasticity in Schizophrenia

Front Psychiatry. 2021 Apr 1;12:644271. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2021.644271. eCollection 2021.


Schizophrenia is a severe mental illness with visual learning and memory deficits, and reduced long term potentiation (LTP) may underlie these impairments. Recent human fMRI and EEG studies have assessed visual plasticity that was induced with high frequency visual stimulation, which is thought to mimic an LTP-like phenomenon. This study investigated the differences in visual plasticity in participants with schizophrenia and healthy controls. An fMRI visual plasticity paradigm was implemented, and proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy data were acquired to determine whether baseline resting levels of glutamatergic and GABA metabolites were related to visual plasticity response. Adults with schizophrenia did not demonstrate visual plasticity after family-wise error correction; whereas, the healthy control group did. There was a significant regional difference in visual plasticity in the left visual cortical area V2 when assessing group differences, and baseline GABA levels were associated with this specific ROI in the SZ group only. Overall, this study suggests that visual plasticity is altered in schizophrenia and related to basal GABA levels.

Keywords: GABA; fMRI; glutamate; healthy adults; magnetic resonance spectroscopy; schizophrenia; visual plasticity.