Neural correlates of working memory dysfunction in first-episode schizophrenia patients: an fMRI multi-center study

Schneider, F., Habel, U., Reske, M., Kellermann, T., Stocker, T., Shah, N. J., Zilles, K., Braus, D. F., Schmitt, A., Schlosser, R., Wagner, M., Frommann, I., Kircher, T., Rapp, A., Meisenzahl, E., Ufer, S., Ruhrmann, S., Thienel, R., Sauer, H., Henn, F. A., Gaebel, W. (January 2007) Neural correlates of working memory dysfunction in first-episode schizophrenia patients: an fMRI multi-center study. Schizophr Res, 89 (1-3). pp. 198-210. ISSN 0920-9964 (Print)

DOI: 10.1016/j.schres.2006.07.021


Working memory dysfunction is a prominent impairment in patients with schizophrenia. Our aim was to determine cerebral dysfunctions by means of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in a large sample of first-episode schizophrenia patients during a working memory task. 75 first-episode schizophrenia patients and 81 control subjects, recruited within a multi-center study, performed 2- and 0-back tasks while brain activation was measured with fMRI. In order to guarantee comparability between data quality from different scanners, we developed and adopted a standardized, fully automated quality assurance of scanner hard- and software as well as a measure for in vivo data quality. After these quality-control measures had been implemented, 48 patients and 57 controls were included in the final analysis. During attention-related processes, even when the performance between patients and controls was comparable, there was a recognizable emergence of cerebral dysfunctions with hypoactivations in the ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (VLPFC), in the superior temporal cortex and in the thalamus. During working memory performance, parietal hypoactivations, especially in the precuneus, were prominent and were accompanied by poorer performance in patients. A hyperfrontality emerged in the ventrolateral prefrontal cortex. Hence, results point to a dysfunctional ventrolateral prefrontal-parietal network during working memory in patients, suggesting impairments in basic functions such as retrieval, storage and maintenance. The brain activation pattern of this large and significant sample of first-episode schizophrenia patients indicates an imbalanced system failing to adjust the amount of brain activity required in the cerebral network involved in attention and working memory.

Item Type: Paper
Uncontrolled Keywords: Adolescent Adult Attention/ physiology Brain Mapping Female Humans Image Processing, Computer-Assisted Magnetic Resonance Imaging Male Memory, Short-Term/ physiology Middle Aged Nerve Net/physiopathology Pattern Recognition, Visual/ physiology Prefrontal Cortex/ physiopathology Reaction Time/physiology Reference Values Schizophrenia/diagnosis/ physiopathology Serial Learning/ physiology Temporal Lobe/ physiopathology Thalamus/ physiopathology
Subjects: diseases & disorders
Investigative techniques and equipment
diseases & disorders > mental disorders
diseases & disorders > mental disorders > schizophrenia
Investigative techniques and equipment > magnetic resonance imaging
organism description > animal behavior > memory
CSHL Authors:
Communities: CSHL labs > Henn lab
Depositing User: Matt Covey
Date: January 2007
Date Deposited: 01 Mar 2013 14:15
Last Modified: 01 Mar 2013 14:15
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