Altered intrinsic and extrinsic connectivity in schizophrenia

Yuan Zhou, Peter Zeidman, Shihao Wu, Adeel Razi, Cheng Chen, Liuqing Yang, Jilin Zou, Gaohua Wang, Huiling Wang, Karl J. Friston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Schizophrenia is a disorder characterized by functional dysconnectivity among distributed brain regions. However, it is unclear how causal influences among large-scale brain networks are disrupted in schizophrenia. In this study, we used dynamic causal modeling (DCM) to assess the hypothesis that there is aberrant directed (effective) connectivity within and between three key large-scale brain networks (the dorsal attention network, the salience network and the default mode network) in schizophrenia during a working memory task. Functional MRI data during an n-back task from 40 patients with schizophrenia and 62 healthy controls were analyzed. Using hierarchical modeling of between-subject effects in DCM with Parametric Empirical Bayes, we found that intrinsic (within-region) and extrinsic (between-region) effective connectivity involving prefrontal regions were abnormal in schizophrenia. Specifically, in patients (i) inhibitory self-connections in prefrontal regions of the dorsal attention network were decreased across task conditions; (ii) extrinsic connectivity between regions of the default mode network was increased; specifically, from posterior cingulate cortex to the medial prefrontal cortex; (iii) between-network extrinsic connections involving the prefrontal cortex were altered; (iv) connections within networks and between networks were correlated with the severity of clinical symptoms and impaired cognition beyond working memory. In short, this study revealed the predominance of reduced synaptic efficacy of prefrontal efferents and afferents in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)704-716
Number of pages13
JournalNeuroImage: Clinical
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Dynamic causal modeling
  • Effective connectivity
  • Functional dysconnectivity
  • Schizophrenia
  • Working memory

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