Differences in brain activation during self-reflection in ultra-high risk for psychosis

Poster C119, Saturday, October 22, 11:30 am - 1:00 pm, Le Baron

Esther Opmeer1, Edith Liemburg1,2,3, Jorien Van der Velde1,2, Lex Wunderink4, Andre Aleman1,5; 1University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Neuroimaging Center, the Netherlands, 2Lentis Research, Center for Mental Health, Groningen, the Netherlands, 3Rob Giel Research Center, University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, the Netherlands, 4Mental Health Care Friesland, Department of Psychosis studies, Leeuwarden, the Netherlands, 5University of Groningen, department of Psychology, Groningen, the Netherlands

Disturbances in self-reflective processing have been suggested to be an indicator of vulnerability for psychosis. The cortical midline structures (CMS) of the brain and the insula play an important role in self-reflective processing. Moreover, abnormal activation in these areas has been reported in patients with schizophrenia and people with high psychosis proneness. In the current study, we investigated whether patients at ultra-high risk for psychosis (UHR) had differences in brain activation during self- and other-reflection. Fifteen UHR-subjects and sixteen age-, sex- and education-matched healthy controls (HC) were included in this study. All participants performed a self-reflection task during functional MRI scanning. The task comprised a self-reflection, other-reflection and semantic (baseline) condition. Both reflection conditions contained positive and negative related traits. Threshold was set to p<.05 family wise error corrected on cluster level for the regions-of-interest. UHR-subjects attributed more negative (p=.002) and less positive traits (p<.001) to themselves than HC. There were no differences for other-related traits. UHR showed less activation during self-reflection in the posterior cingulate cortex (PCC), left putamen and left anterior insula and more activation in the right posterior insula and right putamen compared to HC. Moreover, UHR showed less activation during other-reflection in the PCC and anterior cingulate cortex/ventromedial prefrontal cortex. To conclude, UHR was associated with different activation during both self- and other-reflection, suggesting that neural changes are already present before the onset of psychosis. These disturbances in self-reflective processing might be a vulnerability marker and may result in problems in social functioning and psychotic symptoms.

Topic Area: Ultra High Risk / Prodromal Research

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