Aberrant salience network functional connectivity in auditory verbal hallucinations: a first episode psychosis sample

Pavan Mallikarjun, Paris Alexandros Lalousis, Thomas Dunne, Kareen Heinze, Renate Reniers, Matthew Broome, Baldeep Farmah, Femi Oyebode, Stephen Wood, Rachel Upthegrove*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Auditory verbal hallucinations (AVH) often lead to distress and functional disability, and are frequently associated with psychotic illness. Previously both state and trait magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies of AVH have identified activity in brain regions involving auditory processing, language, memory and areas of default mode network (DMN) and salience network (SN). Current evidence is clouded by research mainly in participants on long-term medication, with chronic illness and by choice of seed regions made ‘a priori’. Thus, the aim of this study was to elucidate the intrinsic functional connectivity in patients presenting with first episode psychosis (FEP). Resting state functional MRI data were available from 18 FEP patients, 9 of whom also experienced AVH of sufficient duration in the scanner and had symptom capture functional MRI (sc fMRI), together with 18 healthy controls. Symptom capture results were used to accurately identify specific brain regions active during AVH; including the superior temporal cortex, insula, precuneus, posterior cingulate and parahippocampal complex. Using these as seed regions, patients with FEP and AVH showed increased resting sb-FC between parts of the SN and the DMN and between the SN and the cerebellum, but reduced sb-FC between the claustrum and the insula, compared to healthy controls.
It is possible that aberrant activity within the DMN and SN complex may be directly linked to impaired salience appraisal of internal activity and AVH generation. Furthermore, decreased intrinsic functional connectivity between the claustrum and the insula may lead to compensatory over activity in parts of the auditory network including areas involved in DMN, auditory processing, language and memory, potentially related to the complex and individual content of AVH when they occur.
Original languageEnglish
Article number69
JournalTranslational Psychiatry
Publication statusPublished - 27 Mar 2018


  • Diagnostic markers
  • Molecular neuroscience


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