Longitudinal changes in resting-state cerebral activity in patients with first-episode schizophrenia: A 1-year follow-up functional MR imaging study

Fei Li, Su Lui, Li Yao, Junmei Hu, Peilin Lv, Xiaoqi Huang, Andrea Mechelli, John A. Sweeney, Qiyong Gong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


Purpose: To determine whether the brain functional abnormalities of drug-naive first-episode schizophrenia are reduced after 1 year of undergoing antipsychotic treatment and whether pretreatment resting-state functional magnetic resonance (MR) imaging parameters are associated with longitudinal changes in clinical symptoms. Materials and Methods: This prospective study was approved by the local ethical committee, and written informed consent was obtained from all participants. Twenty antipsychotic-naive first-episode patients with schizophrenia and 16 healthy individuals were recruited and underwent resting-state functional MR imaging at baseline and again at 1-year follow-up, by which time significant clinical improvement was seen. The amplitude of low-frequency fluctuation (ALFF) and seedbased functional connectivity (FC) were analyzed with analysis of covariance. Results: The amount of ALFF in the right inferior parietal lobule (IPL) and orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) and the amount of FC between the bilateral IPLs significantly increased over the follow-up period, and the amount of ALFF in the right occipital gyrus was reduced (P < .050, AlphaSim corrected [http://afni.nimh.nih.gov/pub/dist/doc/manual/Alpha-Sim.pdf]), returning toward normal levels. Furthermore, the degree of alteration in ALFF values in the right OFC (P = .037) and occipital gyrus (P = .002) at baseline was significantly correlated with the magnitude of the normalization in those regions at 1-year follow-up. In contrast, abnormalities of ALFF in the bilateral thalamus, ventral medial prefrontal cortex, precuneus, and right amygdala and of FC between the right OFC and the dorsal medial prefrontal cortex at baseline did not improve in patients at 1-year follow-up. Conclusion: These findings show that some, but not all, neurophysiologic alterations that occur during the acute phase of schizophrenia are normalized in the context of clinical improvement and suggest therapeutic implications for exploration of which alterations in regional and network-level brain function evolve over time in patients with schizophrenia and which reflect persistent pathologic traits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)867-875
Number of pages9
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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