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Journal Article

Aberrant posterior cingulate connectivity classify first-episode schizophrenia from controls: A machine learning study


Kong,  Xiangzhen
Language and Genetics Department, MPI for Psycholinguistics, Max Planck Society;

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Liang, S., Deng, W., Li, X., Wang, Q., Greenshaw, A. J., Guo, W., et al. (2020). Aberrant posterior cingulate connectivity classify first-episode schizophrenia from controls: A machine learning study. Schizophrenia Research, 220, 187-193. doi:10.1016/j.schres.2020.03.022.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0005-F655-6

Posterior cingulate cortex (PCC) is a key aspect of the default mode network (DMN). Aberrant PCC functional connectivity (FC) is implicated in schizophrenia, but the potential for PCC related changes as biological classifier of schizophrenia has not yet been evaluated.

We conducted a data-driven approach using resting-state functional MRI data to explore differences in PCC-based region- and voxel-wise FC patterns, to distinguish between patients with first-episode schizophrenia (FES) and demographically matched healthy controls (HC). Discriminative PCC FCs were selected via false discovery rate estimation. A gradient boosting classifier was trained and validated based on 100 FES vs. 93 HC. Subsequently, classification models were tested in an independent dataset of 87 FES patients and 80 HC using resting-state data acquired on a different MRI scanner.

Patients with FES had reduced connectivity between PCC and frontal areas, left parahippocampal regions, left anterior cingulate cortex, and right inferior parietal lobule, but hyperconnectivity with left lateral temporal regions. Predictive voxel-wise clusters were similar to region-wise selected brain areas functionally connected with PCC in relation to discriminating FES from HC subject categories. Region-wise analysis of FCs yielded a relatively high predictive level for schizophrenia, with an average accuracy of 72.28% in the independent samples, while selected voxel-wise connectivity yielded an accuracy of 68.72%.

FES exhibited a pattern of both increased and decreased PCC-based connectivity, but was related to predominant hypoconnectivity between PCC and brain areas associated with DMN, that may be a useful differential feature revealing underpinnings of neuropathophysiology for schizophrenia.