Low-Frequency rTMS Treatment Alters the Topographical Organization of Functional Brain Networks in Schizophrenia Patients with Auditory Verbal Hallucination

SOURCE: Psychiatry Research. 309:114393, 2022 03.

AUTHORS: Xie Y; He Y; Guan M; Wang Z; Zhou G; Ma Z; Wang H; Yin H

ABSTRACT: Auditory verbal hallucinations (AVH) are an important characteristic of schizophrenia. Repeated transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) has been evidence to be effective in treating AVH. We evaluated the topological properties of resting-state functional brain networks in schizophrenia
patients with AVH (n = 32) who received 1-Hz rTMS treatment and matched healthy controls (n = 33). The results showed that the psychotic symptoms and certain neurocognitive performances in patients were improved by rTMS treatment. Furthermore, the pretreatment patients showed abnormal global topological metrics compared with the controls, including lower global efficiency (Eglob, represents the relative quality of information transmission between all nodes in the network) and higher characteristic path length (Lp, characterizes the mean shortest distance between any two nodes in the network). The pretreament patients also showed decreased local topological metrics relative to the controls, including the nodal shortest path (NLp, quantifies the mean distance between the given node and the other nodes in the network) and nodal efficiency (Ne, measures the information interchange among the neighbor nodes when one node is removed), mainly located in the prefrontal cortex, occipital cortex, and subcortical regions. While the abnormal global and local topological patterns were normalized in patients after rTMS treatment. The multiple linear regression analysis indicated that the baseline topological metrics could be associated with the clinical responses after treatment in the patient group. The results suggested that the topological organization of the functional brain network was globally and regionally altered in schizophrenia patients with AVH after rTMS treatment and may be a potential therapeutic effect for AVH in schizophrenia.