Network-Level Dysconnectivity in Drug-Naïve First-Episode Psychosis: Dissociating Transdiagnostic and Diagnosis-Specific Alterations

Qiyong Gong, Xinyu Hu, William Pettersson-Yeo, Su Lui Xin Xu, Nicolas Andres Crossley Karmelic, Hongyan Zhu Min Wu, Andrea Mechelli

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The neuroimaging literature provides compelling evidence for functional dysconnectivity in people with psychosis. However, it is likely that at least some of the observed alterations represent secondary effects of illness chronicity and/or antipsychotic medication. In addition, the extent to which these alterations are specific to psychosis or represent a transdiagnostic feature of psychiatric illness remains unclear. The aim of this study was therefore to examine the diagnostic specificity of functional dysconnectivity in drug-naïve first-episode psychosis (FEP). We used resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging and functional connectivity analysis to estimate network-level connectivity in 50 patients with FEP, 50 patients with major depressive disorder (MDD), 50 patients with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and 122 healthy controls (HCs). The FEP, MDD, and PTSD groups showed reductions in intranetwork connectivity of the default mode network relative to the HC group (p<0.05 corrected); therefore, intranetwork alterations were expressed across the three diagnostic groups. In addition, the FEP group showed heightened internetwork connectivity between the default mode network, particularly the anterior cingulate cortex, and the central executive network relative to the MDD, PTSD, and HC groups (p<0.05 corrected); therefore, internetwork alterations were specific to the FEP. These findings suggest that network-level alterations are present in individuals with a first episode of psychosis who have not been exposed to antipsychotic medication. In addition, they suggest a dissociation between aberrant internetwork connectivity as a distinctive feature of psychosis and aberrant intranetwork connectivity as a transdiagnostic feature of psychiatric illness.Neuropsychopharmacology advance online publication
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages8
Early online date16 Nov 2016
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 Nov 2016


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