Neurofunctional correlates of vulnerability to psychosis: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Paolo Fusar-Poli, Jorge Perez, Matthew Broome, Stefan Borgwardt, Anna Placentino, Eduardo Caverzasi, Mariachiara Cortesi, Pierangelo Veggiotti, Peirluigi Politi, Francesco Barale, Philip McGuire

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An understanding of the neurobiological correlates of vulnerability to psychosis is fundamental to research on schizophrenia. We systematically reviewed data from studies published from 1992 to 2006 on the neurocognitive correlates (as measured by fMRI) of increased vulnerability to psychosis. We also conducted a meta-analysis of abnormalities of activation in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) in high-risk and first episode subjects, and reviewed neuroimaging studies of high-risk subjects that used PET, SPECT and MRS. Twenty-four original fMRI papers were identified, most of which involved tasks that engaged the PFC. In fMRI studies, vulnerability to psychosis was associated with medium to large effect sizes when prefrontal activation was contrasted with that in controls. Relatives of patients affected with psychosis, the co-twins of patients and subjects with an At Risk Mental State (ARMS) appear to share similar neurocognitive abnormalities. Furthermore, these are qualitatively similar but less severe than those observed in the first episode of illness. These abnormalities have mainly been described in the prefrontal and anterior cingulated cortex, the basal ganglia, hippocampus and cerebellum.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)465-484
Number of pages20
JournalNeuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • First episode
  • fMRI
  • Functional neuroimaging
  • High-risk
  • MRS
  • PET
  • Psychosis
  • Vulnerability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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