Scientific article
Open access

Ventral Striatal Dysfunction and Symptom Expression in Individuals With Schizotypal Personality Traits and Early Psychosis

Published inSchizophrenia Bulletin, vol. 44, p. 147-157
Publication date2018

Striatal abnormalities play a crucial role in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia. Growing evidence suggests an association between aberrant striatal activity during reward anticipation and symptom dimensions in schizophrenia. However, it is not clear whether this holds across the psychosis continuum. The aim of the present study was to investigate alterations of ventral striatal activation during reward anticipation and its relationship to symptom expression in persons with schizotypal personality traits (SPT) and first-episode psychosis. Twenty-six individuals with high SPT, 26 patients with non-affective first-episode psychosis (including 13 with brief psychotic disorder (FEP-BPD) and 13 with first-episode schizophrenia [FEP-SZ]) and 25 healthy controls underwent event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging while performing a variant of the Monetary Incentive Delay task. Ventral striatal activation was positively correlated with total symptom severity, in particular with levels of positive symptoms. This association was observed across the psychosis continuum and within each subgroup. Patients with FEP-SZ showed the strongest elevation of striatal activation during reward anticipation, although symptom levels did not differ between groups in the psychosis continuum. While our results provide evidence that variance in striatal activation is mainly explained by dimensional symptom expression, patients with schizophrenia show an additional dysregulation of striatal activation. Trans-diagnostic approaches are promising in order to disentangle dimensional and categorical neural mechanisms in the psychosis continuum.

Citation (ISO format)
KIRSCHNER, Matthias et al. Ventral Striatal Dysfunction and Symptom Expression in Individuals With Schizotypal Personality Traits and Early Psychosis. In: Schizophrenia Bulletin, 2018, vol. 44, p. 147–157. doi: 10.1093/schbul/sbw142
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Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal0586-7614

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