Cerebral blood flow alterations specific to auditory verbal hallucinations in schizophrenia

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Abstract

Background

Auditory verbal hallucinations (AVHs) have been associated with deficits in auditory and speech-related networks. However, the resting-state cerebral blood flow (CBF) alterations specific to AVHs in schizophrenia remain unknown.

Aims

To explore AVH-related CBF alterations in individuals with schizophrenia.

Method

In total, 35 individuals with schizophrenia with AVHs, 41 individuals with schizophrenia without AVHs and 50 controls underwent arterial spin labelling magnetic resonance imaging. The CBF differences were voxel-wise compared across the three groups.

Results

We found AVH-specific CBF increase in the right superior temporal gyrus and caudate, and AVH-specific CBF decrease in the bilateral occipital and left parietal cortices. We also observed consistent CBF changes in both schizophrenia subgroups (i.e. those with and without AVHs) including decreased CBF in the bilateral occipital regions, the left lateral prefrontal and insular cortices, and the right anterior cingulate cortex and increased CBF in the bilateral lateral temporal regions and putamen, the left middle cingulate cortex and the right thalamus.

Conclusions

The AVH-specific CBF increases in the auditory and striatal areas and CBF reductions in the visual and parietal areas suggest that there exists a CBF redistribution associated with AVHs.

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