Altered topological characteristics of morphological brain network relate to language impairment in high genetic risk subjects and schizophrenia patients

Xiaobo Li, Kai Wu, Yue Zhang, Lingyin Kong, Hilary Bertisch, Lynn E. DeLisi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Objective: Evidence suggests relationships between abnormalities in various cortical and subcortical brain structures and language dysfunction in individuals with schizophrenia, and to some extent in those with increased genetic risk for this diagnosis. The topological features of the structural brain network at the systems-level and their impact on language function in schizophrenia and in those at high genetic risk has been less well studied. Method: Single-subject morphological brain network was constructed in a total of 71 subjects (20 patients with schizophrenia, 19 individuals at high genetic risk for schizophrenia, and 32 controls). Among these 71 subjects, 56 were involved in our previous neuroimaging studies. Graphic Theoretical Techniques was applied to calculate the global and nodal topological characteristics of the morphological brain network of each participant. Index scores for five language-related cognitive tests were also attained from each participant. Results: Significantly smaller nodal degree in bilateral superior occipital gyri (SOG) were observed in individuals with schizophrenia, as compared to the controls and those at high risk; while significantly reduced nodal betweenness centrality (quantifying the level of a node in connecting other nodes in the network) in right middle frontal gyrus (MFG) was found in the high-risk group, relative to controls. The right MFG nodal efficiency and hub capacity (represented by both nodal degree and betweenness centrality) of the morphological brain network were negatively associated with the wide range achievement test (WRAT) standard performance score; while the right SOG nodal degree was positively associated with the WRAT standard performance score, in the entire study sample. Conclusions: These findings enhance the understanding of structural brain abnormalities at the systems-level in individuals with schizophrenia and those at high genetic risk, which may serve as critical neural substrates for the origin of the language-related impairments and symptom manifestations of schizophrenia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)338-343
Number of pages6
JournalSchizophrenia Research
StatePublished - Jun 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


  • Genetic risk
  • Language impairment
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Morphological brain network
  • Schizophrenia
  • Structural abnormality


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