Functional and anatomical connectivity abnormalities in left inferior frontal gyrus in schizophrenia

Jeong B, Wible CG, Hashimoto R, Kubicki M

Hum Brain Mapp 2009 Dec;30(12):4138-51

PMID: 19569073


Functional studies in schizophrenia demonstrate prominent abnormalities within the left inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) and also suggest the functional connectivity abnormalities in language network including left IFG and superior temporal gyrus during semantic processing. White matter connections between regions involved in the semantic network have also been indicated in schizophrenia. However, an association between functional and anatomical connectivity disruptions within the semantic network in schizophrenia has not been established. Functional (using levels of processing paradigm) as well as diffusion tensor imaging data from 10 controls and 10 chronic schizophrenics were acquired and analyzed. First, semantic encoding specific activation was estimated, showing decreased activation within the left IFG in schizophrenia. Second, functional time series were extracted from this area, and left IFG specific functional connectivity maps were produced for each subject. In an independent analysis, tract-based spatial statistics (TBSS) was used to compare fractional anisotropy (FA) values between groups, and to correlate these values with functional connectivity maps. Schizophrenia patients showed weaker functional connectivity within the language network that includes left IFG and left superior temporal sulcus/middle temporal gyrus. FA was reduced in several white matter regions including left inferior frontal and left internal capsule. Finally, left inferior frontal white matter FA was positively correlated with connectivity measures of the semantic network in schizophrenics, but not in controls. Our results indicate an association between anatomical and functional connectivity abnormalities within the semantic network in schizophrenia, suggesting further that the functional abnormalities observed in this disorder might be directly related to white matter disruptions.