Connectomic approaches using diffusion tensor imaging have contributed to our understanding of brain changes in psychosis, and could provide further insights into the neural mechanisms underlying response to antipsychotic treatment. We here studied the brain network organization in patients at their first episode of psychosis, evaluating whether connectome-based descriptions of brain networks predict response to treatment, and whether they change after treatment. Seventy-six patients with a first episode of psychosis and 74 healthy controls were included. Thirty-three patients were classified as responders after 12 weeks of antipsychotic treatment. Baseline brain structural networks were built using whole-brain diffusion tensor imaging tractography, and analysed using graph analysis and network-based statistics to explore baseline characteristics of patients who subsequently responded to treatment. A subgroup of 43 patients was rescanned at the 12-week follow-up, to study connectomic changes over time in relation to treatment response. At baseline, those subjects who subsequently responded to treatment, compared to those that did not, showed higher global efficiency in their structural connectomes, a network configuration that theoretically facilitates the flow of information. We did not find specific connectomic changes related to treatment response after 12 weeks of treatment. Our data suggest that patients who have an efficiently-wired connectome at first onset of psychosis show a better subsequent response to antipsychotics. However, response is not accompanied by specific structural changes over time detectable with this method.
- First-episode psychosis