This title appears in the Scientific Report : 2009 

Neuronal Correlates of Facial Emotion Discrimination in Early Onset Schizophrenia
Seiferth, N. Y.
Pauly, K. / Kellermann, T. / Shah, J. N. / Ott, G. / Herpertz-Dahlmann, B. / Kircher, T. / Schneider, F. / Habel, U.
Physik der Medizinischen Bildgebung; INM-4
Neuropsychopharmacology, 34 (2009) S. 477 - 487
London Nature Publ. Group 2009
477 - 487
Journal Article
Funktion und Dysfunktion des Nervensystems
Neuropsychopharmacology 34
Please use the identifier: in citations.
Emotion discrimination deficits represent a well-established finding in schizophrenia. Although imaging studies addressed the cerebral dysfunctions underlying emotion perception in adult patients, the question of trait vs state characteristics is still unresolved. The investigation of juvenile patients offers the advantage of studying schizophrenia at an age where influences of illness course and long-term medication are minimized. This may enable a more detailed characterization of emotion discrimination impairments and their cerebral correlates with respect to their appearance and exact nature. A total of 12 juvenile patients with early onset schizophrenia and matched healthy juveniles participated in this study. fMRI data were acquired during an emotion discrimination task consisting of standardized photographs of faces displaying happy, sad, angry, fearful, or neutral facial expression. Similar to findings in adult patients, juvenile patients exhibited reduced performance specificity whereas sensitivity was unaffected. Independent of the valence, their processing of emotional faces was associated with hypoactivations in both fusiform gyri and in the left inferior occipital gyrus. In addition, hyperactivations in patients were found in the right cuneus common to happy, angry, and fearful faces. Further, most distinct changes were present in juvenile patients when processing sad faces. These results point to a dysfunction in cerebral circuits relevant for emotion processing already prominent in adolescent schizophrenia patients. Regions affected by a decrease in activation are related to visual and face processing, similar to deficits reported in adult patients. These changes are accompanied by hyperactivations in areas related to emotion regulation and attribution, possibly reflecting compensatory mechanisms.