RESEARCH ARTICLE


Differential Effects in the Subsystems of the Salience Network in Schizophrenia



Leonidas Mantonakis1, *, Efstratios Karavasilis3, Stefanos Dimitrakopoulos1, Loukia S Poulou3, Georgios Velonakis4, Nikolaos Kelekis4, Nikolaos Smyrnis2
1 Department of Psychiatry, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Eginition Hospital, Athens, Greece
2 Department of Psychiatry, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, University General Hospital “ATTIKON”, Athens, Greece
3 Medical Physics Laboratory, School of Medicine, Democritus University of Thrace, Alexandroupolis, Greece
4 Research Centre of Radiology and Imaging, “Evgenidion” General Hospital, Athens, Greece


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Creative Commons License
© 2024 The Author(s). Published by Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode. This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Psychiatry, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Eginition Hospital, Athens, Greece; E-mail: lmantonakis@gmail.com


Abstract

Background

Recent studies have identified links between schizophrenia and abnormalities in the brain's salience network, a crucial system with primary hubs in the anterior insula and anterior cingulate cortex. This network is divided into two subsystems: the dorsal salience network, which processes sensory information and allocates attention to self-generated or external sensory stimuli, and the ventral salience network, associated with processing the emotional valence of stimuli sensations.

Methods

This pilot study analyzed the resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data from 14 schizophrenia patients and 16 healthy controls. We focused on the functional connectivity within the salience network's dorsal and ventral subsystems, particularly between the dorsal anterior insula and frontoparietal areas, and the ventral anterior insula and the subgenual anterior cingulate cortex.

Results

The analysis revealed that schizophrenia patients displayed weaker connectivity within the dorsal salience network, notably between the dorsal anterior insula and frontoparietal areas. In contrast, these patients demonstrated increased connectivity within the ventral salience system, especially between the ventral anterior insula and the subgenual anterior cingulate cortex.

Conclusion

Our findings highlight that disruptions in the salience network in schizophrenia vary depending on the type of information being processed. This variance underscores the complexity of the disorder and the specific challenges it poses to the brain's ability to process and prioritize information.

Keywords: Salience network, Resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging, Schizophrenia, Brain, Sensory information, Abnormal signalling.