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Network analysis on cortical morphometry in first-episode schizophrenia

Mowen Yin (1)Weikai Huang (2)Zhichao Liang (1) ...+11 P.R. China)
Dec 2022
First-episode schizophrenia (FES) results in abnormality of brainconnectivity at different levels. Despite some successful findings onfunctional and structural connectivity of FES, relatively few studies have beenfocused on morphological connectivity, which may provide a potential biomarkerfor FES. In this study, we aim to investigate cortical morphologicalconnectivity in FES. T1-weighted magnetic resonance image data from 92 FESpatients and 106 healthy controls (HCs) are analyzed.We parcellate brain into68 cortical regions, calculate the averaged thickness and surface area of eachregion, construct undirected networks by correlating cortical thickness orsurface area measures across 68 regions for each group, and finally compute avariety of network-related topology characteristics. Our experimental resultsshow that both the cortical thickness network and the surface area network intwo groups are small-world networks; that is, those networks have highclustering coefficients and low characteristic path lengths. At certain networksparsity levels, both the cortical thickness network and the surface areanetwork of FES have significantly lower clustering coefficients and localefficiencies than those of HC, indicating FES-related abnormalities in localconnectivity and small-worldness. These abnormalities mainly involve thefrontal, parietal, and temporal lobes. Further regional analyses confirmsignificant group differences in the node betweenness of the posteriorcingulate gyrus for both the cortical thickness network and the surface areanetwork. Our work supports that cortical morphological connectivity, which isconstructed based on correlations across subjects' cortical thickness, mayserve as a tool to study topological abnormalities in neurological disorders.