Differential patterns of initial and sustained responses in amygdala and cortical regions to emotional stimuli in schizophrenia patients and healthy participants.
We sought to investigate the altered brain responses to emotional stimuli in patients with schizophrenia.
We analyzed data from 14 patients with schizophrenia and 14 healthy controls who performed an emotional face matching task. We evaluated brain activity and connectivity in the amygdala and cortical regions during the initial (first 21 seconds of each stimulation block) and sustained (last 21 seconds) stages of an emotional processing task, and we determined changes in amygdala activity across the emotional processing task.
The patients with schizophrenia showed similar amygdala activation to the controls during the initial stage of processing, but their activation decreased during the sustained stage. The controls showed increasing amygdala activity across the emotional blocks, whereas activity progressively decreased in the schizophrenia group. The patients with schizophrenia showed increased cortical activity and interconnectivity in the medial frontal and inferior parietal cortex in the initial stage of emotional processing.There was increased activity in the superior temporal cortex and greater connectivity with the inferior parietal cortex in the sustained stage. Performance accuracy was lower in the schizophrenia group in the first part of the block, while their reaction time was longer in the latter part of the block.
It was not possible to specify the moment at which the switch in amygdala response occurred.
Our findings suggest that patients with schizophrenia have an initial automatic emotional response but that they need to switch to a compensatory cognitive strategy to solve the task.
Salgado-Pineda, P; Fakra, E; Delaveau, P; Hariri, AR; Blin, O
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