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Neural Correlates of Schizophrenia Negative Symptoms: Distinct Subtypes Impact Dissociable Brain Circuits.

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The negative symptoms of schizophrenia include deficits in emotional expression and motivation. These deficits are stable over the course of illness and respond poorly to current medications. Previous studies have focused on negative symptoms as a single category; however, individual symptoms might be related to separate neurological disturbances. We analyzed data from the Functional Biomedical Informatics Research Network dataset to explore the relationship between individual negative symptoms and functional brain activity during an auditory oddball task.


Functional magnetic resonance imaging was conducted on 89 schizophrenia patients and 106 healthy controls during a two-tone auditory oddball task. Blood oxygenation level-dependent (BOLD) signal during the target tone was correlated with severity of five negative symptom domains from the Scale for the Assessment of Negative Symptoms.


The severity of alogia, avolition/apathy and anhedonia/asociality was negatively correlated with BOLD activity in distinct sets of brain regions associated with processing of the target tone, including basal ganglia, thalamus, insular cortex, prefrontal cortex, posterior cingulate and parietal cortex.


Individual symptoms were related to different patterns of functional activation during the oddball task, suggesting that individual symptoms might arise from distinct neural mechanisms. This work has potential to inform interventions that target these symptom-related neural disruptions.

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