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Structural and functional brain abnormalities in drug-naive, first-episode, and chronic patients with schizophrenia: a multimodal MRI study

Authors Wu F, Zhang Y, Yang Y, Lu X, Fang Z, Huang J, Kong L, Chen J, Ning Y, Li X, Wu K

Received 16 May 2018

Accepted for publication 16 August 2018

Published 30 October 2018 Volume 2018:14 Pages 2889—2904


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Roger Pinder

Fengchun Wu,1,2,* Yue Zhang,2,3,* Yongzhe Yang,2–4 Xiaobing Lu,1,2 Ziyan Fang,1 Jianwei Huang,1 Lingyin Kong,3 Jun Chen,5,6 Yuping Ning,1,2 Xiaobo Li,7,8 Kai Wu2,3,5,6,9

1Department of Psychiatry, The Affiliated Brain Hospital of Guangzhou Medical University (Guangzhou Huiai Hospital), Guangzhou, China; 2Guangdong Engineering Technology Research Center for Translational Medicine of Mental Disorders, Guangzhou, China; 3Department of Biomedical Engineering, School of Materials Science and Engineering, South China University of Technology (SCUT), Guangzhou, China; 4School of Medicine, South China University of Technology (SCUT), Guangzhou, China; 5Guangdong Engineering Technology Research Center for Diagnosis and Rehabilitation of Dementia, Guangzhou, China; 6National Engineering Research Center for Healthcare Devices, Guangzhou, China; 7Department of Biomedical Engineering, New Jersey Institute of Technology, NJ, USA; 8Department of Electric and Computer Engineering, New Jersey Institute of Technology, NJ, USA; 9Department of Nuclear Medicine and Radiology, Institute of Development, Aging and Cancer, Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Background: Structural and functional brain abnormalities in schizophrenia (SZ) have been widely reported. However, a few studies have investigated both structural and functional characteristics in SZ patients at different stages to understand the neuropathology of SZ.
Methods: In this study, we recruited 44 first-episode drug-naive SZ (FESZ) patients, 44 medicated chronic SZ (CSZ) patients, and 56 normal controls (NCs) and acquired their structural and resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). We then made group comparisons on structural and functional characteristics, including regional gray matter volume (GMV), regional homogeneity, amplitude of low-frequency fluctuation, and degree centrality. A linear support vector machine (SVM) combined with a recursive feature elimination (RFE) algorithm was implemented to discriminate three groups.
Results: Our results indicated that the regional GMV was significantly decreased in patients compared with that in NCs; CSZ patients have more diffused GMV decreases primarily involved in the frontal and temporal lobes when compared with FESZ patients. Both FESZ and CSZ patients showed significant functional alterations compared with NCs; when compared with FESZ patients, CSZ patients showed significant reductions in functional characteristics in several brain regions associated with auditory, visual processing, and sensorimotor functions. Moreover, a linear SVM combined with a RFE algorithm was implemented to discriminate three groups. The accuracies of the three classifiers were 79.80%, 83.16%, and 81.71%, respectively. The performance of classifiers in this study with multimodal MRI was better than that of previous discriminative analyses of SZ patients with single-modal MRI.
Conclusion: Our findings bring new insights into the understanding of the neuropathology of SZ and contribute to stage-specific biomarkers in diagnosis and interventions of SZ.

Keywords: multimodal MRI, schizophrenia, support vector machine, SVM, classification

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