Core dysfunction in schizophrenia: electrophysiology trait biomarkers.
Koychev I., El-Deredy W., Mukherjee T., Haenschel C., Deakin JF.
OBJECTIVE: Core symptoms of schizophrenia, particularly in the cognitive domain are hypothesized to be due to an abnormality in neural connectivity. Biomarkers of connectivity may therefore be a promising tool in exploring the aetiology of schizophrenia. We used electrophysiological methods to demonstrate abnormal visual information processing during in patients performing a simple cognitive task. METHOD: Electrophysiological recordings were acquired from 20 chronically ill, medicated patients diagnosed with either schizophrenia or schizo-affective disorder and 20 healthy volunteers while they conducted a working memory (WM) task. RESULTS: The patient group had significantly lower accuracy on the WM task and a trend for slower responses. An early visual evoked response potential was reduced in patients. Analysis of the electroencephalographic oscillations showed a decreased phase-locking factor (in the theta, beta and gamma bands) and signal power (theta frequency band). The beta and gamma oscillatory abnormalities were confined to two sets of correlated fronto and occipital electrodes. CONCLUSION: The findings of event-related potential and oscillatory abnormalities in patients with schizophrenia confirm the sensitivity of early visual information processing measurements for identification of schizophrenia phenotype. The fronto-occipital distribution of the oscillatory abnormalities replicates our findings from a schizotypal sample and implicates a possible top-down dysfunction as a vulnerability trait.