The unbalanced reorganization of weaker functional connections induces the altered brain network topology in schizophrenia

Rossana Mastrandrea, Fabrizio Piras, Andrea Gabrielli, Nerisa Banaj, Guido Caldarelli, Gianfranco Spalletta, Tommaso Gili

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Network neuroscience shed some light on the functional and structural modifications occurring to the brain associated with the phenomenology of schizophrenia. In particular, resting-state functional networks have helped our understanding of the illness by highlighting the global and local alterations within the cerebral organization. We investigated the robustness of the brain functional architecture in 44 medicated schizophrenic patients and 40 healthy comparators through an advanced network analysis of resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging data. The networks in patients showed more resistance to disconnection than in healthy controls, with an evident discrepancy between the two groups in the node degree distribution computed along a percolation process. Despite a substantial similarity of the basal functional organization between the two groups, the expected hierarchy of healthy brains' modular organization is crumbled in schizophrenia, showing a peculiar arrangement of the functional connections, characterized by several topologically equivalent backbones. Thus, the manifold nature of the functional organization’s basal scheme, together with its altered hierarchical modularity, may be crucial in the pathogenesis of schizophrenia. This result fits the disconnection hypothesis that describes schizophrenia as a brain disorder characterized by an abnormal functional integration among brain regions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number15400
JournalScientific Reports
Volume11
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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