Altered Surface Area Covariance in the Mentalizing Network in Schizophrenia: Insight into Theory of Mind Processing.

TitleAltered Surface Area Covariance in the Mentalizing Network in Schizophrenia: Insight into Theory of Mind Processing.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsRaucher-Chéné D, Lavigne KM, Makowski C, Lepage M
JournalBiol Psychiatry Cogn Neurosci Neuroimaging
Date Published2020 Jul 11

BACKGROUND: Theory of mind (ToM), the cognitive capacity to attribute mental states to self and others, is robustly affected in schizophrenia. The neural substrates of ToM impairment have been largely studied with functional imaging, but little is known about structural abnormalities. We compared structural covariance (between-subjects correlations of brain regional measures) of magnetic resonance imaging-based cortical surface area between patients with schizophrenia and healthy control subjects and between schizophrenia subgroups based on the patients' ToM ability to examine ToM-specific effects on structural covariance in schizophrenia.METHODS: T1-weighted structural images were acquired on a 3T magnetic resonance imaging scanner, and ToM was assessed with the Hinting Task for 104 patients with schizophrenia and 69 healthy control subjects. The sum of surface area was computed for 12 regions of interest selected and compared between groups to examine structural covariance within the often reported mentalizing network: rostral and caudal middle frontal gyrus, inferior parietal lobule, precuneus, and middle and superior temporal gyrus. High and low ToM groups were defined using a median split on the Hinting Task.RESULTS: Cortical surface contraction was observed in the schizophrenia group, predominantly in temporoparietal regions. Patients with schizophrenia also exhibited significantly stronger covariance between the right rostral middle frontal gyrus and the right superior temporal gyrus than control subjects (r = 4.015; p < .001). Direct comparisons between high and low ToM subgroups revealed stronger contralateral frontotemporal covariances in the low ToM group.CONCLUSIONS: Our results provide evidence for structural changes underlying ToM impairments in schizophrenia that need to be confirmed to develop new therapeutic perspectives.

Alternate JournalBiol Psychiatry Cogn Neurosci Neuroimaging
PubMed ID32919946