Abnormally increased and incoherent resting-state activity is shared between patients with schizophrenia and their unaffected siblings
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Background: Several resting-state neuroimaging studies in schizophrenia indicate an excessive brain activity while others report an incoherent brain activity at rest. No direct evidence for the simultaneous presence of both excessive and incoherent brain activity has been established to date. Moreover, it is unclear whether unaffected siblings of schizophrenia patients who share half of the affected patient's genotype also exhibit the excessive and incoherent brain activity that may render them vulnerable to the development of schizophrenia. Methods: 27 pairs of schizophrenia patients and their unaffected siblings, as well as 27 healthy controls, were scanned using gradient-echo echo-planar imaging at rest. By using amplitude of low-frequency fluctuations (ALFF) and regional homogeneity (Reho), we investigated the intensity and synchronization of local spontaneous neuronal activity in three groups. Results: We observed that increased amplitude and reduced synchronization (coherence) of spontaneous neuronal activity were shared by patients and their unaffected siblings. The key brain regions with this abnormal neural pattern in both patients and siblings included the middle temporal, orbito-frontal, inferior occipital and fronto-insular gyrus. Conclusions: This abnormal neural pattern of excessive and incoherent neuronal activity shared by schizophrenia patients and their healthy siblings may improve our understanding of neuropathology and genetic predisposition in schizophrenia.