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Bilateral anterior corona radiata microstructure organisation relates to impaired social cognition in schizophrenia

Burke, Tom, Holleran, Laurena, Mothersill, David, Lyons, James, O'Rourke, Nathan, Gleeson, Christina, Cannon, Dara M., McKernan, Declan P., Morris, Derek W., Kelly, John P., Hallahan, Brian, McDonald, Colm and Donohoe, Gary (2023) Bilateral anterior corona radiata microstructure organisation relates to impaired social cognition in schizophrenia. Schizophrenia Research, 262. pp. 87-94. ISSN 1573-2509

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Objective: The Corona Radiata (CR) is a large white matter tract in the brain comprising of the anterior CR (aCR), superior CR (sCR), and posterior CR (pCR), which have associations with cognition, self-regulation, and, in schizophrenia, positive symptom severity. This study tested the hypothesis that the microstructural organisation of the aCR, as measured by Fractional Anisotropy (FA) using Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI), would relate to poorer social cognitive outcomes and higher positive symptom severity for people with schizophrenia, when compared to healthy participants. We further hypothesised that increased positive symptoms would relate to poorer social cognitive outcomes.

Methods: Data were derived from n = 178 healthy participants (41 % females; 36.11 ± 12.36 years) and 58 people with schizophrenia (30 % females; 42.4 ± 11.1 years). The Positive and Negative Symptom Severity Scale measured clinical symptom severity. Social Cognition was measured using the Reading the Mind in the Eyes Test (RMET) Total Score, as well as the Positive, Neutral, and Negative stimuli valence. The ENIGMA-DTI protocol tract-based spatial statistics (TBSS) was used.

Results: There was a significant difference in FA for the CR, in individuals with schizophrenia compared to healthy participants. On stratification, both the aCR and pCR were significantly different between groups, with patients showing reduced white matter tract microstructural organisation. Significant negative correlations were observed between positive symptomatology and reduced microstructural organisation of the aCR. Performance for RMET negative valence items was significantly correlated bilaterally with the aCR, but not the sCR or pCR, and no relationship to positive symptoms was observed.

Conclusions: These data highlight specific and significant microstructural white-matter differences for people with schizophrenia, which relates to positive clinical symptomology and poorer performance on social cognition stimuli. While reduced FA is associated with higher positive symptomatology in schizophrenia, this study shows the specific associated with anterior frontal white matter tracts and reduced social cognitive performance. The aCR may have a specific role to play in frontal-disconnection syndromes, psychosis, and social cognitive profile within schizophrenia, though further research requires more sensitive, specific, and detailed consideration of social cognition outcomes.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Schizophrenia; Social cognition; Mentalising; Psychosis; Corona radiata; Diffusion tensor imaging; Symptom severity; Clinical outcomes
Subjects: Q Science > QP Physiology
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > Psychology > Cognition
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry > Neurology. Diseases of the Nervous System.
Divisions: School of Business > Staff Research and Publications
Depositing User: Tamara Malone
Date Deposited: 06 Nov 2023 15:50
Last Modified: 06 Nov 2023 15:50

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