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Apathy is not associated with reduced ventral striatal volume in patients with schizophrenia


Abstract

Background: A growing body of neuroimaging research has revealed a relationship between blunted activation of the ventral striatum (VS) and apathy in schizophrenia. In contrast, the association between reduced striatal volume and apathy is less well established, while the relationship between VS function and structure in patients with schizophrenia remains an open question. Here, we aimed to replicate previous structural findings in a larger independent sample and to investigate the relationship between VS hypoactivation and VS volume.
Methods: We included brain structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data from 60 patients with schizophrenia (SZ) that had shown an association of VS hypoactivation with apathy during reward anticipation and 58 healthy controls (HC). To improve replicability, we applied analytical methods employed in two previously published studies: Voxel-based morphometry and the Multiple Automatically Generated Templates (MAGeT) algorithm. VS and dorsal striatum (DS) volume were correlated with apathy correcting for age, gender and total brain volume. Additionally, left VS activity was correlated with left VS volume.
Results: We failed to replicate the association between apathy and reduced VS volume and did not find a correlation with DS volume. Functional and structural left VS measures exhibited a trend-level correlation (rs = 0.248, p = 0.067, r2 = 0.06).
Conclusions: Our present data suggests that functional and structural striatal neuroimaging correlates of apathy can occur independently. Replication of previous findings may have been limited by other factors (medication, illness duration, age) potentially related to striatal volume changes in SZ. Finally, associations between reward-related VS function and structure should be further explored.

Abstract

Background: A growing body of neuroimaging research has revealed a relationship between blunted activation of the ventral striatum (VS) and apathy in schizophrenia. In contrast, the association between reduced striatal volume and apathy is less well established, while the relationship between VS function and structure in patients with schizophrenia remains an open question. Here, we aimed to replicate previous structural findings in a larger independent sample and to investigate the relationship between VS hypoactivation and VS volume.
Methods: We included brain structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data from 60 patients with schizophrenia (SZ) that had shown an association of VS hypoactivation with apathy during reward anticipation and 58 healthy controls (HC). To improve replicability, we applied analytical methods employed in two previously published studies: Voxel-based morphometry and the Multiple Automatically Generated Templates (MAGeT) algorithm. VS and dorsal striatum (DS) volume were correlated with apathy correcting for age, gender and total brain volume. Additionally, left VS activity was correlated with left VS volume.
Results: We failed to replicate the association between apathy and reduced VS volume and did not find a correlation with DS volume. Functional and structural left VS measures exhibited a trend-level correlation (rs = 0.248, p = 0.067, r2 = 0.06).
Conclusions: Our present data suggests that functional and structural striatal neuroimaging correlates of apathy can occur independently. Replication of previous findings may have been limited by other factors (medication, illness duration, age) potentially related to striatal volume changes in SZ. Finally, associations between reward-related VS function and structure should be further explored.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Psychiatric University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, and Psychosomatics
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Scopus Subject Areas:Health Sciences > Psychiatry and Mental Health
Life Sciences > Biological Psychiatry
Uncontrolled Keywords:Biological Psychiatry, Psychiatry and Mental health
Language:English
Date:1 September 2020
Deposited On:27 Jan 2021 18:13
Last Modified:28 Jan 2021 21:02
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0920-9964
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.schres.2020.08.018
Project Information:
  • : FunderSNSF
  • : Grant ID105314_140351
  • : Project TitleCombining dimensional and neuroimaging approaches to the negative symptoms of schizophrenia
  • : FunderSNSF
  • : Grant IDP2SKP3_178175
  • : Project TitleModulating the neural processing of internal and external rewards - a multimodal approach combining neuroimaging, TMS and pharmacological challenge
  • : FunderSNSF
  • : Grant ID105314_140351
  • : Project TitleCombining dimensional and neuroimaging approaches to the negative symptoms of schizophrenia
  • : FunderSNSF
  • : Grant IDP2SKP3_178175
  • : Project TitleModulating the neural processing of internal and external rewards - a multimodal approach combining neuroimaging, TMS and pharmacological challenge

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