Disrupted striatal functional connectivity is proposed to play a critical role in the development of psychotic symptoms. Previous resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI) studies typically reported disrupted striatal connectivity in patients with psychosis and in individuals at clinical and genetic high risk of the disorder relative to healthy controls. This has not been widely studied in healthy individuals with subclinical psychotic-like experiences (schizotypy). Here we applied the emerging technology of multi-echo rs-fMRI to examine corticostriatal connectivity in this group, which is thought to drastically maximize physiological noise removal and increase BOLD contrast-to-noise ratio. Multi-echo rs-fMRI data (echo times, 12, 28, 44, 60 ms) were acquired from healthy individuals with low (LS, n = 20) and high (HS, n = 19) positive schizotypy as determined with the Oxford-Liverpool Inventory of Feelings and Experiences (O-LIFE). After preprocessing to ensure optimal contrast and removal of non-BOLD signal components, whole-brain functional connectivity from six striatal seeds was compared between the HS and LS groups. Effects were considered significant at cluster-level p <.05 family-wise error correction. Compared to LS, HS subjects showed lower rs-fMRI connectivity between ventromedial prefrontal regions and ventral striatal regions. Lower connectivity was also observed between the dorsal putamen and the hippocampus, occipital regions, as well as the cerebellum. These results demonstrate that subclinical positive psychotic-like experiences in healthy individuals are associated with striatal hypoconnectivity as detected using multi-echo rs-fMRI. Further application of this approach may aid in characterizing functional connectivity abnormalities across the extended psychosis phenotype.
- Functional connectivity
- Multi-echo fMRI