Structural and functional brain abnormalities in children with schizotypal disorder: a pilot study

Ya Wang, Ian H. Harding, Renee Testa, Bruce Tonge, Harvey Jones, Marc Seal, Nola Ross, Raymond C.K. Chan, Florian van Beurden, Ahmad Abu-Akel, Efstratios Skafidas, Christos Pantelis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Schizotypal disorder lies in the schizophrenia spectrum and is widely studied in adult populations. Schizotypal disorder in children (SDc) is less well described. This study examined brain morphological and functional connectivity abnormalities in SDc (12 SDc and 9 typically developing children), focusing on the default mode and executive control brain networks. Results indicated that SDc is associated with reduced grey matter volume (GMV) in superior and medial frontal gyri, and increased resting-state functional connectivity between the superior frontal gyrus and inferior parietal lobule, compared to typically developing children (cluster-level FWE-corrected p < 0.05). The brain structure abnormality (GMV in left superior frontal gyrus) was correlated with clinical symptoms in SDc (r = −0.66, p = 0.026) and functional connectivity abnormality was correlated with extra-dimensional shifting impairments in all participants (r = 0.62, p = 0.011), suggesting their contribution to the underlying mechanisms of clinical presentation. These preliminary results motivate further work to characterize the neural basis of SDc and its significance as a risk factor for later psychosis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6
Journalnpj Schizophrenia
Issue number1
StatePublished - 18 Mar 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Support for this pilot study was provided by a grant from The University of Melbourne Research Grant Support Scheme (ID: 1452755). Christos Pantelis was supported by a NHMRC Senior Principal Research Fellowship (628386 & 1105825), and a Brain and Behavior Research Foundation (NARSAD) Distinguished Investigator Award (US; Grant ID: 18722) and by a grant from the Lundbeck Foundation (ID: R246-2016-3237); Ian Harding was supported by an NHMRC Early Career Fellowship (ID: 1106533); Ya Wang was supported by China Scholarship Council. The authors thank the children and their families for their participation in this study. In addition, we thank Antonia Merritt and Annabel Burnside for assisting with recruitment. We thank the staff at the Imaging Facility at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute for support with the study, and Chester Kang at MNC for IT support.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, Crown.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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