Functional Connectivity of Corticostriatal Circuitry and Psychosis-like Experiences in the General Community

Kristina Sabaroedin, Jeggan Tiego, Linden Parkes, Francesco Sforazzini, Amy Finlay, Beth Johnson, Ari Pinar, Vanessa Cropley, Ben J Harrison , Andrew Zalesky, Christos Pantelis, Mark Bellgrove, Alex Fornito

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Background: Psychotic symptoms are proposed to lie on a continuum, ranging from isolated psychosis-like experiences (PLEs) in nonclinical populations to frank disorder. Here, we investigated the neurobiological correlates of this continuum by examining whether functional connectivity of dorsal corticostriatal circuitry, which is disrupted in psychosis patients and individuals at high risk for psychosis, is associated with the severity of subclinical PLEs. Methods: A community sample of 672 adults with no history of psychiatric or neurological illnesses completed a battery of seven questionnaires spanning various PLE domains. Principal component analysis of 12 subscales taken from seven questionnaires was used to estimate major dimensions of PLEs. Dimension scores from principal component analysis were then correlated with whole-brain voxelwise functional connectivity maps of the dorsal striatum in a subset of 353 participants who completed a resting-state neuroimaging protocol. Results: Principal component analysis identified two dimensions of PLEs that accounted for 62.57% of variance in the measures, corresponding to positive (i.e., subthreshold delusions and hallucinations) and negative (i.e., subthreshold social and physical anhedonia) symptom-like PLEs. Reduced functional connectivity between the dorsal striatum and prefrontal and motor cortices correlated with more severe positive PLEs. Increased functional connectivity between the dorsal striatum and motor cortex was associated with more severe negative PLEs. Conclusions: Consistent with past findings in patients and individuals at high risk for psychosis, subthreshold positive symptomatology is associated with reduced functional connectivity of the dorsal circuit. This finding suggests that the connectivity of this circuit tracks the expression of psychotic phenomena across a broad spectrum of severity, extending from the subclinical domain to clinical diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-24
Number of pages9
JournalBiological Psychiatry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2019


  • psychosis
  • continuum
  • fMRI
  • corticostriatal
  • striatum
  • connectivity

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