Disturbed thalamo-cortical connectivity in the unaffected relatives of schizophrenia patients

Poster B91, Tuesday, October 9, 11:30 am - 1:00 pm, Essex Ballroom

Kang Ik K. Cho1,2, Minah Kim3, Youngwoo Bryan Yoon2, Jun Hee Lee3, Tae Young Lee1,3, Jun Soo Kwon1,2,3; 1Institute of Human Behavioral Medicine, SNU-MRC, Seoul, Republic of Korea, 2Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, College of Natural Sciences, Seoul National University, Seoul, Republic of Korea;, 3Department of Psychiatry, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea

Background Alterations in thalamo-cortical anatomical connectivity, specifically the connection between the orbitofrontal cortex and thalamus, have been frequently reported in schizophrenia and are suggested to contribute to the pathophysiology of schizophrenia. However, the evidence of genetic aspects underlying these alterations is still lacking. Aim The connectivity of the thalamo-cortical white matter in unaffected relatives of schizophrenia patients were compared to healthy controls (HCs). Methods A total of 35 unaffected relatives and 34 HCs underwent diffusion-weighted and T1-weighted magnetic resonance imaging to examine the white matter connectivity between the thalamus and orbitofrontal cortex using probabilistic tractography. Results After controlling for age and sex, the unaffected relatives exhibited significantly reduced fractional anisotropy values for the left thalamo-orbitofrontal tract compared to that of controls, F (1,65) = 6.93, P = 0.011, effect size partial η2 = 0.10. Conclusions Our finding in the unaffected relatives of schizophrenia patients, which is in line with the alterations reported in schizophrenia, first-episode psychosis and clinical high risk for psychosis, highlight a possible genetic contribution to the proposed biomarker of altered thalamo-cortical connectivity.

Topic Area: Ultra High Risk / Prodromal Research

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