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Arterial spin labeling (ASL) provides absolute quantification of resting tissue cerebral blood flow (CBF) as an entirely noninvasive approach with good reproducibility. As a result of neurovascular coupling, ASL provides a useful marker of resting neuronal activity. Recent ASL studies in individuals at clinical high risk of psychosis (CHR) have reported increased resting hippocampal perfusion compared with healthy controls. Schizotypy refers to the presence of subclinical psychotic-like experiences in healthy individuals and represents a robust framework to study neurobiological mechanisms involved in the extended psychosis phenotype while avoiding potentially confounding effects of antipsychotic medications or disease comorbidity. Here we applied pseudo-continuous ASL to examine differences in resting CBF in 21 subjects with high positive schizotypy (HS) relative to 22 subjects with low positive schizotypy (LS), as determined by the Oxford and Liverpool Inventory of Feelings and Experiences. Based on preclinical evidence that hippocampal hyperactivity leads to increased activity in mesostriatal dopamine projections, CBF in hippocampus, midbrain, and striatum was assessed. Participants with HS showed higher CBF of the right hippocampus compared to those with LS (p =.031, family-wise error corrected). No differences were detected in the striatum or midbrain. The association between increased hippocampal CBF and HS supports the notion that hippocampal hyperactivity might be a central characteristic of the extended psychosis phenotype, while hyperactivity in subcortical dopamine pathways may only emerge at a higher intensity of psychotic experiences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4055-4064
Number of pages10
JournalHuman Brain Mapping
Issue number10
Early online date8 Jun 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2018


  • ASL
  • CBF
  • medial temporal lobe
  • MRI
  • neuroimaging
  • psychosis
  • psychosis proneness


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