Abnormalities of intrinsic regional brain activity in first-episode and chronic schizophrenia: a meta-analysis of resting-state functional MRI

Abnormalities of intrinsic regional brain activity in first-episode and chronic schizophrenia: a meta-analysis of resting-state functional MRI

J Psychiatry Neurosci 2020;45(1):55-68 | PDF | Appendix

Jiaying Gong, MD*; Junjing Wang, PhD*; Xiaomei Luo, MD; Guanmao Chen, MD; Huiyuan Huang, MD; Ruiwang Huang, PhD; Li Huang, PhD†; Ying Wang, PhD†

Background: Resting-state functional MRI (fMRI) studies have provided much evidence for abnormal intrinsic brain activity in schizophrenia, but results have been inconsistent.

Methods: We conducted a meta-analysis of whole-brain, resting-state fMRI studies that explored differences in amplitude of low-frequency fluctuation (ALFF) between people with schizophrenia (including first episode and chronic) and healthy controls.

Results: A systematic literature search identified 24 studies comparing a total of 1249 people with schizophrenia and 1179 healthy controls. Overall, patients with schizophrenia displayed decreased ALFF in the bilateral postcentral gyrus, bilateral precuneus, left inferior parietal gyri and right occipital lobe, and increased ALFF in the right putamen, right inferior frontal gyrus, left inferior temporal gyrus and right anterior cingulate cortex. In the subgroup analysis, patients with first-episode schizophrenia demonstrated decreased ALFF in the bilateral inferior parietal gyri, right precuneus and left medial prefrontal cortex, and increased ALFF in the bilateral putamen and bilateral occipital gyrus. Patients with chronic schizophrenia showed decreased ALFF in the bilateral postcentral gyrus, left precuneus and right occipital gyrus, and increased ALFF in the bilateral inferior frontal gyri, bilateral superior frontal gyrus, left amygdala, left inferior temporal gyrus, right anterior cingulate cortex and left insula.

Limitations: The small sample size of our subgroup analysis, predominantly Asian samples, processing steps and publication bias could have limited the accuracy of the results.

Conclusion: Our comprehensive meta-analysis suggests that findings of aberrant regional intrinsic brain activity during the initial stages of schizophrenia, and much more widespread damage with the progression of disease, may contribute to our understanding of the progressive pathophysiology of schizophrenia.


Submitted Dec. 8, 2018; Revised Mar. 1, 2019; Accepted May 5, 2019; Published online Oct. 3, 2019

*†These authors contributed equally to this work.

Affiliations: From the Medical Imaging Center, First Affiliated Hospital of Jinan University, Guangzhou China (Gong, Luo, Chen, Huang, Wang); the Department of Radiology, Six Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China (Gong); the Department of Applied Psychology, Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, Guangzhou, China (Wang); the School of Psychology, Institute of Brain Research and Rehabilitation (IBRR), Center for the Study of Applied Psychology & MRI Center, Key Laboratory of Mental Health and Cognitive Science of Guangdong Province, South China Normal University, Guangzhou China (Huang, Huang).

Funding: The study was supported by grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (81671670, 81501456, 81471650 and 81801685); Planned Science and Technology Project of Guangdong Province, China (2014B020212022); Planned Science and Technology Project of Guangzhou, China (1563000653, 201508020004, 201604020007 and 201604020184); and National Natural Science Foundation of Guangdong Province, China (2018A030310003). The funding organizations played no role in study design; data collection, analysis or interpretation; writing; or decision to publish the manuscript.

Competing interests: The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Contributors: L. Huang and Y. Wang designed the study. J. Gong and X. Luo acquired the data, which J. Wang, G. Chen, H. Huang and R. Huang analyzed. J. Gong wrote the article, which all authors reviewed. All authors approved the final version to be published and can certify that no other individuals not listed as authors have made substantial contributions to the paper.

DOI: 10.1503/cjs.180245

Correspondence to: Y. Wang, Medical Imaging Center, First Affiliated Hospital of Jinan University, Guangzhou 510630, China; johneil@vip.sina.com