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Aberrant striatal dopamine links topographically with cortico-thalamic dysconnectivity in schizophrenia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Mihai Avram, Felix Brandl, Franziska Knolle, Jorge Cabello, Claudia Leucht, Martin Scherr, Mona Mustafa, Nikolaos Koutsouleris, Stefan Leucht, Sibylle Ziegler, Christian Sorg

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3495-3505
Number of pages11
JournalBrain : a journal of neurology
Volume143
Issue number11
DOIs
Published5 Dec 2020

King's Authors

Abstract

Aberrant dopamine function in the dorsal striatum and aberrant intrinsic functional connectivity (iFC) between distinct cortical networks and thalamic nuclei are among the most consistent large-scale brain imaging findings in schizophrenia. A pathophysiological link between these two alterations is suggested by theoretical models based on striatal dopamine's topographic modulation of cortico-thalamic connectivity within cortico-basal-ganglia-thalamic circuits. We hypothesized that aberrant striatal dopamine links topographically with aberrant cortico-thalamic iFC, i.e. aberrant associative striatum dopamine is associated with aberrant iFC between the salience network and thalamus, and aberrant sensorimotor striatum dopamine with aberrant iFC between the auditory-sensorimotor network and thalamus. Nineteen patients with schizophrenia during remission of psychotic symptoms and 19 age- and sex-comparable control subjects underwent simultaneous fluorodihydroxyphenyl-l-alanine PET (18F-DOPA-PET) and resting state functional MRI (rs-fMRI). The influx constant kicer based on 18F-DOPA-PET was used to measure striatal dopamine synthesis capacity; correlation coefficients between rs-fMRI time series of cortical networks and thalamic regions of interest were used to measure iFC. In the salience network-centred system, patients had reduced associative striatum dopamine synthesis capacity, which correlated positively with decreased salience network-mediodorsal-thalamus iFC. This correlation was present in both patients and healthy controls. In the auditory-sensorimotor network-centred system, patients had reduced sensorimotor striatum dopamine synthesis capacity, which correlated positively with increased auditory-sensorimotor network-ventrolateral-thalamus iFC. This correlation was present in patients only. Results demonstrate that reduced striatal dopamine synthesis capacity links topographically with cortico-thalamic intrinsic dysconnectivity in schizophrenia. Data suggest that aberrant striatal dopamine and cortico-thalamic dysconnectivity are pathophysiologically related within dopamine-modulated cortico-basal ganglia-thalamic circuits in schizophrenia.

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