The human brain’s resting-state functional connectivity (rsFC) provides stable trait-like measures of differences in the perceptual, cognitive, emotional, and social functioning of individuals. The rsFC of the prefrontal cortex is hypothesized to mediate a person’s rational self-government, as is also measured by personality, so we tested whether its connectivity networks account for vulnerability to psychosis and related personality configurations. Young adults were recruited as outpatients or controls from the same communities around psychiatric clinics. Healthy controls (n = 30) and clinically stable outpatients with bipolar disorder (n = 35) or schizophrenia (n = 27) were diagnosed by structured interviews, and then were assessed with standardized protocols of the Human Connectome Project. Data-driven clustering identified five groups of patients with distinct patterns of rsFC regardless of diagnosis. These groups were distinguished by rsFC networks that regulate specific biopsychosocial aspects of psychosis: sensory hypersensitivity, negative emotional balance, impaired attentional control, avolition, and social mistrust. The rsFc group differences were validated by independent measures of white matter microstructure, personality, and clinical features not used to identify the subjects. We confirmed that each connectivity group was organized by differential collaborative interactions among six prefrontal and eight other automatically-coactivated networks. The temperament and character traits of the members of these groups strongly accounted for the differences in rsFC between groups, indicating that configurations of rsFC are internal representations of personality organization. These representations involve weakly self-regulated emotional drives of fear, irrational desire, and mistrust, which predispose to psychopathology. However, stable outpatients with different diagnoses (bipolar or schizophrenic psychoses) were highly similar in rsFC and personality. This supports a diathesis-stress model in which different complex adaptive systems regulate predisposition (which is similar in stable outpatients despite diagnosis) and stress-induced clinical dysfunction (which differs by diagnosis).
Zwir, I., Arnedo, J., Mesa, A. et al. Temperament & Character account for brain functional connectivity at rest: A diathesis-stress model of functional dysregulation in psychosis. Mol Psychiatry (2023). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41380-023-02039-6
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