Functional asymmetry of thalamocortical networks in subjects at ultra-high risk for psychosis and first-episode schizophrenia

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Psychiatry, Division of Neuroinformatics

Publication Date


Document Type



Mental and Social Health | Nervous System | Neuroscience and Neurobiology | Psychiatry | Psychiatry and Psychology


Disrupted functional asymmetry has been implicated in schizophrenia. However, it remains unknown whether disrupted functional asymmetry originates from intra-hemispheric and/or inter-hemispheric functional connectivity (FC) in the patients, and whether it starts at very early stage of psychosis. Seventy-six patients with first-episode, drug-naive schizophrenia, 74 subjects at ultra-high risk for psychosis (UHR), and 71 healthy controls underwent resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging. The 'Parameter of asymmetry' (PAS) metric was calculated and support vector machine (SVM) classification analysis was applied to analyze the data. Compared with healthy controls, patients exhibited decreased PAS in the left thalamus/pallidum, right hippocampus/parahippocampus, right inferior frontal gyrus/insula, right thalamus, and left inferior parietal lobule, and increased PAS in the left calcarine, right superior occipital gyrus/middle occipital gyrus, and right precentral gyrus/postcentral gyrus. By contrast, UHR subjects showed decreased PAS in the left thalamus relative to healthy controls. A negative correlation was observed between decreased PAS in the right hippocampus/parahippocampus and Brief Visuospatial Memory Test-Revised (BVMT-R) scores in the patients (r=-0.364, p=0.002). Moreover, the PAS values in the left thalamus could discriminate the patients/UHR subjects from the controls with acceptable sensitivities (68.42%/81.08%). First-episode patients and UHR subjects shared decreased PAS in the left thalamus. This observed pattern of functional asymmetry highlights the involvement of the thalamus in the pathophysiology of psychosis and may also be applied as a very early marker for psychosis.


Asymmetry, Functional connectivity, Functional magnetic resonance imaging, Schizophrenia

DOI of Published Version



Eur Neuropsychopharmacol. 2019 Apr;29(4):519-528. doi: 10.1016/j.euroneuro.2019.02.006. Epub 2019 Feb 13. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

European neuropsychopharmacology : the journal of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID