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Previous studies in psychosis patients have shown hippocampal volume deficits across anterior and posterior regions or across subfields, but subfield specific changes in volume along the hippocampal long axis have not been examined. Here, we tested the hypothesis that volume changes exist across the hippocampus in chronic psychosis but only the anterior CA region is affected in early psychosis patients. We analyzed structural MRI data from 179 patients with a non-affective psychotic disorder (94 chronic psychosis; 85 early psychosis) and 167 heathy individuals demographically matched to the chronic and early psychosis samples respectively (82 matched to chronic patients; 85 matched to early patients). We measured hippocampal volumes using Freesurfer 6-derived automated segmentation of both anterior and posterior regions and the CA, dentate gyrus, and subiculum subfields. We found a hippocampal volume deficit in both anterior and posterior regions in chronic psychosis, but this deficit was limited to the anterior hippocampus in early psychosis patients. This volume change was more pronounced in the anterior CA subfield of early psychosis patients than in the dentate gyrus or subiculum. Our findings support existing models of psychosis implicating initial CA dysfunction with later progression to other hippocampal regions and suggest that the anterior hippocampus may be an important target for early interventions.
Copyright © 2018 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
In rodent and human brains, the small GTP-binding protein Rhes is highly expressed in virtually all dopaminoceptive striatal GABAergic medium spiny neurons, as well as in large aspiny cholinergic interneurons, where it is thought to modulate dopamine-dependent signaling. Consistent with this knowledge, and considering that dopaminergic neurotransmission is altered in neurological and psychiatric disorders, here we sought to investigate whether Rhes mRNA expression is altered in brain regions of patients with Parkinson's disease (PD), Schizophrenia (SCZ), and Bipolar Disorder (BD), when compared to healthy controls (about 200 post-mortem samples). Moreover, we performed the same analysis in the putamen of non-human primate Macaca Mulatta, lesioned with the neurotoxin 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP). Overall, our data indicated comparable Rhes mRNA levels in the brain of patients with SCZ and BD, and their respective healthy controls. In sharp contrast, the putamen of patients suffering from PD showed a significant 35% reduction of this transcript, compared to healthy subjects. Interestingly, in line with observations obtained in humans, we found 27% decrease in Rhes mRNA levels in the putamen of MPTP-treated primates. Based on the established inhibitory influence of Rhes on dopamine-related responses, we hypothesize that its striatal downregulation in PD patients and animal models of PD might represent an adaptive event of the dopaminergic system to functionally counteract the reduced nigrostriatal innervation.
BACKGROUND - Schizotypy is a range of perceptual experiences and personality features related to risk and familial predisposition to psychosis. Despite evidence that schizotypy is related to psychosis vulnerability, very little is known about the expression of schizotypal traits in individuals with a psychotic disorder, and their relationship to clinical symptoms, cognition, and psychosocial functioning.
METHODS - 59 healthy subjects and 68 patients with a psychotic disorder (47 schizophrenia spectrum disorder; 21 bipolar disorder with psychotic features) completed four schizotypy scales, the Perceptual Aberration Scale, the Revised Physical and Social Anhedonia Scales, and the Schizotypal Personality Questionnaire, a brief neuropsychological assessment, and a self-report measure of quality of life. Clinical symptoms of psychosis were quantified in patients with the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS).
RESULTS - Psychosis patients scored higher than healthy subjects on all schizotypy scales. Correlations between schizotypy and PANSS scores were modest, ranging from r=.06 to r=.43, indicating that less than 20% of the variance in self-reported schizotypy overlapped with clinical symptoms. After controlling for clinical symptoms, patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorders reported higher levels of cognitive-perceptual disturbances and negative traits than patients with bipolar disorder. Elevated schizotypy was associated with lower cognitive functioning and self-reported quality of life.
CONCLUSIONS - Schizotypal personality traits are markedly elevated in psychotic disorders, especially schizophrenia spectrum disorders, relatively weakly correlated with positive and negative psychotic symptoms, and associated with greater cognitive impairment and lower quality of life. Assessing schizotypy in patients with psychosis may be useful for predicting functional outcome and differential diagnosis.
Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
BACKGROUND - Neuropsychological impairment is heterogeneous in psychosis. The association of intracranial volume (ICV) and total brain volume (TBV) with cognition suggests brain structure abnormalities in psychosis will covary with the severity of cognitive impairment. We tested the following hypotheses: (1) brain structure abnormalities will be more extensive in neuropsychologically impaired psychosis patients; (2) psychosis patients with premorbid cognitive limitations will show evidence of hypoplasia (ie, smaller ICV); and (3) psychosis patients with evidence of cognitive decline will demonstrate atrophy (ie, smaller TBV, but normal ICV).
METHODS - One hundred thirty-one individuals with psychosis and 97 healthy subjects underwent structural magnetic resonance imaging and neuropsychological testing. Patients were divided into neuropsychologically normal and impaired groups. Impaired patients were further subdivided into deteriorated and compromised groups if estimated premorbid intellect was average or below average, respectively. ICV and TBV were compared across groups. Localized brain volumes were qualitatively examined using voxel-based morphometry.
RESULTS - Compared to healthy subjects, neuropsychologically impaired patients exhibited smaller TBV, reduced grey matter volume in frontal, temporal, and subcortical brain regions, and widespread white matter volume loss. Neuropsychologically compromised patients had smaller ICV relative to healthy subjects, and neuropsychologically normal and deteriorated patient groups, but relatively normal TBV. Deteriorated patients exhibited smaller TBV compared to healthy subjects, but relatively normal ICV. Unexpectedly, TBV, adjusted for ICV, was reduced in neuropsychologically normal patients.
CONCLUSIONS - Patients with long-standing cognitive limitations exhibit evidence of early cerebral hypoplasia, whereas neuropsychologically normal and deteriorated patients show evidence of brain tissue loss consistent with progression or later cerebral dysmaturation.
© The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center. All rights reserved. For permissions, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The objective of the present study was to compare two components of executive functioning, response monitoring and inhibition, in bipolar disorder (BP) and schizophrenia (SZ). The saccadic countermanding task is a translational paradigm optimized for detecting subtle abnormalities in response monitoring and response inhibition. We have previously reported countermanding performance abnormalities in SZ, but the degree to which these impairments are shared by other psychotic disorders is unknown. 18 BP, 17 SZ, and 16 demographically matched healthy controls (HC) participated in a saccadic countermanding task. Performance on the countermanding task is approximated as a race between movement generation and inhibition processes; this model provides an estimate of the time needed to cancel a planned movement. Response monitoring was assessed by the reaction time (RT) adjustments based on trial history. Like SZ patients, BP patients needed more time to cancel a planned movement. The two patient groups had equivalent inhibition efficiency. On trial history-based RT adjustments, however, we found a trend towards exaggerated trial history-based slowing in SZ compared to BP. Findings have implications for understanding the neurobiology of cognitive control, for defining the etiological overlap between schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, and for developing pharmacological treatments of cognitive impairments.
Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
Neuropsychological impairment and abnormalities in brain structure are commonly observed in psychotic disorders, including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Shared deficits in neuropsychological functioning and abnormalities in brain structure suggest overlapping neuropathology between schizophrenia and bipolar disorder which has important implications for psychiatric nosology, treatment, and our understanding of the etiology of psychotic illnesses. However, the emergence and trajectory of brain dysfunction in psychotic disorders is less well understood. Differences in the course and progression of neuropsychological impairment and brain abnormalities among psychotic disorders may point to unique neuropathological processes. This article reviews the course of neuropsychological impairment and brain structure abnormalities in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
Copyright © 2014. Published by Elsevier Ireland Ltd.
Here, we extended our findings from a genome-wide association study of the euphoric response to d-amphetamine in healthy human volunteers by identifying enrichment between SNPs associated with response to d-amphetamine and SNPs associated with psychiatric disorders. We found that SNPs nominally associated (P ≤ 0.05 and P ≤ 0.01) with schizophrenia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder were also nominally associated with d-amphetamine response. Furthermore, we found that the source of this enrichment was an excess of alleles that increased sensitivity to the euphoric effects of d-amphetamine and decreased susceptibility to schizophrenia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. In contrast, three negative control phenotypes (height, inflammatory bowel disease, and Parkinson disease) did not show this enrichment. Taken together, our results suggest that alleles identified using an acute challenge with a dopaminergic drug in healthy individuals can be used to identify alleles that confer risk for psychiatric disorders commonly treated with dopaminergic agonists and antagonists. More importantly, our results show the use of the enrichment approach as an alternative to stringent standards for genome-wide significance and suggest a relatively novel approach to the analysis of small cohorts in which intermediate phenotypes have been measured.
BACKGROUND - Prior genome-scans of bipolar disorder have revealed chromosome 6q22 as a promising candidate region. However, linkage disequilibrium (LD) mapping studies have yet to identify replicated susceptibility loci.
METHODS - We analyzed 1,422 LD-tagging single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 83 genes to test single-marker and locus-wide evidence of association with bipolar disorder in the NIMH Genetics Initiative bipolar pedigrees and the Portuguese Island Collection (PIC) (N = 1,093 in 528 informative pairs). Both studies previously demonstrated significant evidence of linkage to 6q. SNPs were genotyped using an Illumina iSelect genotyping array which employs the Infinium assay. Evidence of single-marker association was assessed using the generalized disequilibrium test (GDT). Empirical estimates of gene-wide significance were obtained by permutation (via 100,000 gene-dropping simulations) of Fisher's combined test of P-values for each locus.
RESULTS - No single variant yielded significant experiment-wide evidence of association, for either the combined sample or in each subsample. Our gene-dropping simulations identified nominally significant gene-wide associations with multiple loci, of which NT5DC1 in the NIMH subsample and CCNC in the PIC were the strongest candidates. However, no one gene consistently exceeded empirical significance criteria in both independent samples or survived Bonferroni correction for the number of genes tested.
CONCLUSIONS - Using a gene-based approach to family-based association, we identified gene-wide associations with several genes, though no single locus was significantly associated with bipolar disorder in both cohorts. This suggests that chromosome 6q may harbor multiple susceptibility loci or that complex patterns of LD in this region may confound approaches based on common SNPs. Published 2013. This article is a U.S. Government work and is in the public domain in the USA.
Published 2013. This article is a U.S. Government work and is in the public domain in the USA.
Less than 1.5% of the human genome encodes protein. However, vast portions of the human genome are subject to transcriptional and epigenetic regulation, and many noncoding regulatory DNA elements are thought to regulate the spatial organization of interphase chromosomes. For example, chromosomal "loopings" are pivotal for the orderly process of gene expression, by enabling distal regulatory enhancer or silencer elements to directly interact with proximal promoter and transcription start sites, potentially bypassing hundreds of kilobases of interspersed sequence on the linear genome. To date, however, epigenetic studies in the human brain are mostly limited to the exploration of DNA methylation and posttranslational modifications of the nucleosome core histones. In contrast, very little is known about the regulation of supranucleosomal structures. Here, we show that chromosome conformation capture, a widely used approach to study higher-order chromatin, is applicable to tissue collected postmortem, thereby informing about genome organization in the human brain. We introduce chromosome conformation capture protocols for brain and compare higher-order chromatin structures at the chromosome 6p22.2-22.1 schizophrenia and bipolar disorder susceptibility locus, and additional neurodevelopmental risk genes, (DPP10, MCPH1) in adult prefrontal cortex and various cell culture systems, including neurons derived from reprogrammed skin cells. We predict that the exploration of three-dimensional genome architectures and function will open up new frontiers in human brain research and psychiatric genetics and provide novel insights into the epigenetic risk architectures of regulatory noncoding DNA.
Copyright © 2014 Society of Biological Psychiatry. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.