Impaired cortico-limbic functional connectivity in schizophrenia patients during emotion processing


  • Comte Magali
  • Zendjidjian Xavier Y.
  • Coull Jennifer T
  • Cancel Aida
  • Boutet Claire
  • Schneider Fabien C.
  • Sage Thierry
  • Lazerges Pierre-Emmanuel
  • Jaafari Nematollah
  • Ibrahim El Cherif
  • Azorin Jean-Michel
  • Blin Olivier
  • Fakra Eric


  • Prefrontal cortex
  • Schizophrenia
  • Affect
  • Functional magnetic resonance imaging
  • Amygdala
  • Anterior cingulate cortex

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Functional dysconnection is increasingly recognized as a core pathological feature in schizophrenia. Aberrant interactions between regions of the cortico-limbic circuitmay underpin the abnormal emotional processing associated with this illness. We used a functionalmagnetic resonance imaging paradigmdesigned to dissociate the various components of the corticolimbic circuit (i.e. a ventral automatic circuit that is intertwined with a dorsal cognitive circuit), to explore bottom-up appraisal as well as top-down control during emotion processing. In schizophrenia patients compared with healthy controls, bottom-up processes were associated with reduced interaction between the amygdala and both the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. Contrariwise, top-down control processes led to stronger connectivity between the ventral affective and the dorsal cognitive circuits, i.e. heightened interactions between the ventral ACC and the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex as well as between dorsal and ventral ACC. These findings offer a comprehensive view of the cortico-limbic dysfunction in schizophrenia. They confirmprevious results of impaired propagation of information between the amygdala and the prefrontal cortex and suggest a defective functional segregation in the dorsal cognitive part of the cortico-limbic circuit.

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