Cingulate Cortex in Schizophrenia: its relation with negative symptoms and psychotic onset. A review study.
Bersani FS., Minichino A., Fojanesi M., Gallo M., Maglio G., Valeriani G., Biondi M., Fitzgerald PB.
OBJECTIVE: The cingulate cortex is a functionally heterogeneous region involved in diverse cognitive and emotional processes. It is a region of special interest to investigate the neurological substrate of schizophrenia. The aim of this paper is to review all the studies that investigated the relation between the cingulate cortex and two of the most important and little known areas of this disease: the psychotic onset and the negative symptoms. MATERIAL AND METHODS: Relevant literature was identified through a search in PubMed, Web of Science, and Cochrane database. Search terms included negative symptoms, cingulate cortex, cingulate gyrus, schizophrenia, PET, SPECT, MRI, fMRI, BOLD, deficit schizophrenia, early-onset schizophrenia, psychotic onset, psychosis. RESULTS: 9 studies evidenced a link between negative symptoms and hypoactivity of cingulate cortex, whereas 7 studies did not. A positive relationship between anterior cingulate cortex gray matter thinning and high risk for schizophrenia is well characterized in literature. CONCLUSIONS: In a large portion of patients hypoactivity of cingulate cortex underlie the presence of negative symptoms. In particular, ACC (anterior cingulated cortex) thinning seems to be related to the increasing social withdrawal that is characteristic of the psychosis prodrome. New therapies focused on the brain stimulation of the cingulate cortex could represent an important aid for patients with this kind of symptoms.