Frontiers in Human Neuroscience
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Anomalies in the medial prefrontal cortex, anterior insulae, and large-scale brain networks associated with them have been proposed to underlie the pathophysiology of schizophrenia and major depressive disorder (MDD). In this study, we examined the connectivity of the medial prefrontal cortices and anterior insulae in 24 healthy controls, 24 patients with schizophrenia, and 24 patients with MDD early in illness with seed-based resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging analysis using Statistical Probability Mapping. As hypothesized, reduced connectivity was found between the medial prefrontal cortex and the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex and other nodes associated with directed effort in patients with schizophrenia compared to controls while patients with MDD had reduced connectivity between the medial prefrontal cortex and ventral prefrontal emotional encoding regions compared to controls. Reduced connectivity was found between the anterior insulae and the medial prefrontal cortex in schizophrenia compared to controls, but contrary to some models emotion processing regions failed to demonstrate increased connectivity with the medial prefrontal cortex in MDD compared to controls. Although, not statistically significant after correction for multiple comparisons, patients with schizophrenia tended to demonstrate decreased connectivity between basal ganglia-thalamocortical regions and the medial prefrontal cortex compared to patients with MDD, which might be expected as these regions effect action. Results were interpreted to support anomalies in nodes associated with directed effort in schizophrenia and nodes associated with emotional encoding network in MDD compared to healthy controls.