BACKGROUND - Anomalous sense of self is central to schizophrenia yet difficult to demonstrate empirically. The present study examined the effective neural network connectivity underlying self-face recognition in patients with schizophrenia (SZ) using [15O]H2O Positron Emission Tomography (PET) and Structural Equation Modeling.
METHODS - Eight SZ and eight age-matched healthy controls (CO) underwent six consecutive [15O]H2O PET scans during self-face (SF) and famous face (FF) recognition blocks, each of which was repeated three times.
RESULTS - There were no behavioral performance differences between the SF and FF blocks in SZ. Moreover, voxel-based analyses of data from SZ revealed no significant differences in the regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) levels between the SF and FF recognition conditions. Further effective connectivity analyses for SZ also showed a similar pattern of effective connectivity network across the SF and FF recognition. On the other hand, comparison of SF recognition effective connectivity network between SZ and CO demonstrated significantly attenuated effective connectivity strength not only between the right supramarginal gyrus and left inferior temporal gyrus, but also between the cuneus and right medial prefrontal cortex in SZ.
CONCLUSION - These findings support a conceptual model that posits a causal relationship between disrupted self-other discrimination and attenuated effective connectivity among the right supramarginal gyrus, cuneus, and prefronto-temporal brain areas involved in the SF recognition network of SZ.