Salience network glutamate and brain connectivity in medication-naïve first episode patients – A multimodal magnetic resonance spectroscopy and resting state functional connectivity MRI study

Academic Article


  • Background: Salience network (SN) connectivity is altered in schizophrenia, but the pathophysiological origin remains poorly understood. The goal of this multimodal neuroimaging study was to investigate the role of glutamatergic metabolism as putative mechanism underlying SN dysconnectivity in first episode psychosis (FEP) subjects. Methods: We measured glutamate + glutamine (Glx) in the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC) from 70 antipsychotic-naïve FEP subjects and 52 healthy controls (HC). The dACC was then used as seed to define positive and negative resting state functional connectivity (FC) of the SN. We used multiple regression analyses to test main effects and group interactions of Glx and FC associations. Results: dACC Glx levels did not differ between groups. Positive FC was significantly reduced in FEP compared to HC, and no group differences were found in negative FC. Group interactions of Glx-FC associations were found within the SN for positive FC, and in parietal cortices for negative FC. In HC, higher Glx levels predicted greater positive FC in the dACC and insula, and greater negative FC of the lateral parietal cortex. These relationships were weaker or absent in FEP. Conclusions: Here, we found that positive FC in the SN is already altered in medication-naïve FEP, underscoring the importance of considering both correlations and anticorrelations for characterization of pathology. Our data demonstrate that Glx and functional connectivity work differently in FEP than in HC, pointing to a possible mechanism underlying dysconnectivity in psychosis.
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    Author List

  • Maximo JO; Briend F; Armstrong WP; Kraguljac NV; Lahti AC
  • Volume

  • 32