Frontal dysconnectivity in 22q11.2 deletion syndrome: an atlas-based functional connectivity analysis.Behav Brain Funct 2018; 14(1):2BB
22q11.2 deletion syndrome (22q11DS) is a neurodevelopmental syndrome associated with deficits in cognitive and emotional processing. This syndrome represents one of the highest risk factors for the development of schizophrenia. Previous studies of functional connectivity (FC) in 22q11DS report aberrant connectivity patterns in large-scale networks that are associated with the development of psychotic symptoms.
In this study, we performed a functional connectivity analysis using the CONN toolbox to test for differential connectivity patterns between 54 individuals with 22q11DS and 30 healthy controls, between the ages of 17-25 years old. We mapped resting-state fMRI data onto 68 atlas-based regions of interest (ROIs) generated by the Desikan-Killany atlas in FreeSurfer, resulting in 2278 ROI-to-ROI connections for which we determined total linear temporal associations between each. Within the group with 22q11DS only, we further tested the association between prodromal symptoms of psychosis and FC.
We observed that relative to controls, individuals with 22q11DS displayed increased FC in lobar networks involving the frontal-frontal, frontal-parietal, and frontal-occipital ROIs. In contrast, FC between ROIs in the parietal-temporal and occipital lobes was reduced in the 22q11DS group relative to healthy controls. Moreover, positive psychotic symptoms were positively associated with increased functional connections between the left precuneus and right superior frontal gyrus, as well as reduced functional connectivity between the bilateral pericalcarine. Positive symptoms were negatively associated with increased functional connectivity between the right pericalcarine and right postcentral gyrus.
Our results suggest that functional organization may be altered in 22q11DS, leading to disruption in connectivity between frontal and other lobar substructures, and potentially increasing risk for prodromal psychosis.