Abnormal dynamic functional connectivity between speech and auditory areas in schizophrenia patients with auditory hallucinations.

Research paper by Wenjing W Zhang, Siyi S Li, Xiuli X Wang, Yao Y Gong, Li L Yao, Yuan Y Xiao, Jieke J Liu, Sarah K SK Keedy, Qiyong Q Gong, John A JA Sweeney, Su S Lui

Indexed on: 14 Jul '18Published on: 14 Jul '18Published in: NeuroImage: Clinical


Auditory hallucinations (AH), typically hearing voices, are a core symptom in schizophrenia. They may result from deficits in dynamic functional connectivity (FC) between cortical regions supporting speech production and language perception that interfere with the ability to recognize self-generated speech as not coming from external sources. We tested this hypothesis by investigating dynamic connectivity between the frontal cortex region related to language production and the temporal cortex region related to auditory processing. Resting-state fMRI scans were acquired from 18 schizophrenia patients with AH (AH+), 17 schizophrenia patients without AH (AH-) and 22 healthy controls. A multiband sequence with TR = 427 ms was adopted to provide relatively high temporal resolution data for characterizing dynamic FC. Analysis focused on connectivity between speech production and language comprehension areas, eloquent language cortex in the left hemisphere. Two frequency bands of brain oscillatory activity were evaluated (0.01-0.027 Hz, 0.027-0.08 Hz) in which differential alterations that have been previously linked to schizophrenia. Conventional static FC maps of these seeds were also calculated. Dynamic connectivity analysis indicated that AH+ patients showed not only less temporal variability but transient lower strength in connectivity between speech and auditory areas than healthy controls, while AH- patients not. These findings were restricted to 0.027-0.08 Hz activity. In static connectivity analysis, no significant differences were observed in connectivity between speech production and language comprehension areas in either frequency band. Reduced temporal variability and connectivity strength between key regions of eloquent language cortex may represent a mechanism for AH in schizophrenia.