Neural correlates of visuospatial working memory in the 'at-risk mental state'.

Psychosis Clinical Academic Group, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, UK.
Psychological Medicine (Impact Factor: 5.43). 03/2010; 40(12):1987-99. DOI: 10.1017/S0033291710000280
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Impaired spatial working memory (SWM) is a robust feature of schizophrenia and has been linked to the risk of developing psychosis in people with an at-risk mental state (ARMS). We used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to examine the neural substrate of SWM in the ARMS and in patients who had just developed schizophrenia.
fMRI was used to study 17 patients with an ARMS, 10 patients with a first episode of psychosis and 15 age-matched healthy comparison subjects. The blood oxygen level-dependent (BOLD) response was measured while subjects performed an object-location paired-associate memory task, with experimental manipulation of mnemonic load.
In all groups, increasing mnemonic load was associated with activation in the medial frontal and medial posterior parietal cortex. Significant between-group differences in activation were evident in a cluster spanning the medial frontal cortex and right precuneus, with the ARMS groups showing less activation than controls but greater activation than first-episode psychosis (FEP) patients. These group differences were more evident at the most demanding levels of the task than at the easy level. In all groups, task performance improved with repetition of the conditions. However, there was a significant group difference in the response of the right precuneus across repeated trials, with an attenuation of activation in controls but increased activation in FEP and little change in the ARMS.
Abnormal neural activity in the medial frontal cortex and posterior parietal cortex during an SWM task may be a neural correlate of increased vulnerability to psychosis.

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Recent evidence has revealed abnormal functional connectivity between the frontal and parietal brain regions during working memory processing in patients with schizophrenia and first-episode psychosis. However, it still remains unclear whether abnormal frontoparietal connectivity during working memory processing is already evident in the psychosis high-risk state and whether the connection strengths are related to psychopathological outcomes. Healthy controls and antipsychotic-naive individuals with an at-risk mental state (ARMS) performed an n-back working memory task while undergoing functional magnetic resonance imaging. Effective connectivity between frontal and parietal brain regions during working memory processing were characterized using dynamic causal modelling. Our study included 19 controls and 27 individuals with an ARMS. In individuals with an ARMS, we found significantly lower task performances and reduced activity in the right superior parietal lobule and middle frontal gyrus than in controls. Furthermore, the working memory-induced modulation of the connectivity from the right middle frontal gyrus to the right superior parietal lobule was significantly reduced in individuals with an ARMS, while the extent of this connectivity was negatively related to the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale total score. The modest sample size precludes a meaningful subgroup analysis for participants with a later transition to psychosis. This study demonstrates that abnormal frontoparietal connectivity during working memory processing is already evident in individuals with an ARMS and is related to psychiatric symptoms. Thus, our results provide further insight into the pathophysiological mechanisms of the psychosis high-risk state by linking functional brain imaging, computational modelling and psychopathology.
    Journal of psychiatry & neuroscience: JPN 02/2014; 39(1):130102. · 7.49 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The goal of this investigation was to clarify the nature of spatial working memory difficulties in individuals at ultra high risk (UHR) for psychosis. We evaluated spatial working memory and intelligence in 96 individuals at UHR for psychosis, 28 patients with first episode psychosis (FEP), and 23 healthy controls. Fourteen UHR individuals developed a psychotic disorder during follow-up. Compared to controls, the UHR group was impaired in both the short-term maintenance of material and in the effective use of strategy, but not more immediate memory. These impairments were not as severe as those in the FEP group, as the UHR group performed better than the FEP group. A similar pattern of results was found for the intelligence measures. Discriminant function analyses demonstrated short-term maintenance of material significantly differentiated the UHR and healthy control groups even when accounting for full scale intelligence quotient (IQ); whereas full scale IQ significantly differentiated the UHR and FEP groups and FEP and control groups. Notably, within the UHR group, impaired spatial working memory performance was associated with lower global functioning, but not full scale IQ. The subgroup of UHR individuals who later developed psychosis was not significantly more impaired on any aspect of working memory performance than the group of UHR individuals who did not develop psychosis. Given, the relationship between spatial working memory deficits and functional outcome, these results indicate that cognitive remediation could be useful in individuals at UHR for psychosis to potentially improve functioning.
    Journal of Psychiatric Research 01/2013; · 4.09 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Schizophrenia patients exhibit a wide range of impairments in cognitive functions. Clinically, atypical antipsychotic drugs (AAPs) such as olanzapine (OLZ) have a therapeutic effect on memory function among schizophrenia patients rather than typical antipsychotics, e.g., haloperidol. To date, however, little is known about the neuroplasticity mechanism underlying the effect of AAPs on the impairment of cognitive functions. Here, we treated schizophrenia rat models with a systematic injection of MK-801 (0.1mg/kg) and chose the drug OLZ as a tool to investigate the mechanisms of AAPs when used to alter cognitive function. The results showed that the systematic administration of MK-801 results in the impairment of spatial learning and memory as well as spatial working memory in a Morris water maze task. OLZ but not HAL improved these MK-801-induced cognitive dysfunctions. After MK-801 application, the hippocampal LTP was profoundly impaired. In conjunction with the results of the behavioral test, the administration of OLZ but not of HAL resulted in a significant reversal effect on the impaired LTP induced via MK-801 application. Furthermore, we found that OLZ but not HAL can upregulate the phosphorylation of GluR1 Ser845. These data suggest that the therapeutic effect of OLZ on cognitive dysfunctions may be due to its contribution to synaptic plasticity via the ability to upregulate the state of GluR1 Ser845 phosphorylation. We therefore suggest that the upregulated state of GluR1 Ser845 phosphorylation may be a promising target for developing novel therapeutics for treating schizophrenia.
    Schizophrenia Research 09/2014; · 4.43 Impact Factor


Available from
May 20, 2014