Functional, Anatomical, and Morphological Networks Highlight the Role of Basal Ganglia-Thalamus-Cortex Circuits in Schizophrenia

Wei Zhao, Shuixia Guo*, Zeqiang Linli, Albert C. Yang, Ching Po Lin, Shih Jen Tsai

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Evidence from electrophysiological, functional, and structural research suggests that abnormal brain connectivity plays an important role in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia. However, most previous studies have focused on single modalities only, each of which is associated with its own limitations. Multimodal combinations can more effectively utilize various information, but previous multimodal research mostly focuses on extracting local features, rather than carrying out research based on network perspective. This study included 135 patients with schizophrenia and 148 sex- and age-matched healthy controls. Functional magnetic resonance imaging, diffusion tensor imaging, and structural magnetic resonance imaging data were used to construct the functional, anatomical, and morphological networks of each participant, respectively. These networks were used in combination with machine learning to identify more consistent biomarkers of brain connectivity and explore the relationships between different modalities. We found that although each modality had divergent connectivity biomarkers, the convergent pattern was that all were mostly located within the basal ganglia-thalamus-cortex circuit. Furthermore, using the biomarkers of these 3 modalities as a feature yielded the highest classification accuracy (91.75%, relative to a single modality), suggesting that the combination of multiple modalities could be effectively utilized to obtain complementary information regarding different mode networks; furthermore, this information could help distinguish patients. These findings provide direct evidence for the disconnection hypothesis of schizophrenia, suggesting that abnormalities in the basal ganglia-thalamus-cortex circuit can be used as a biomarker of schizophrenia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)422-431
Number of pages10
JournalSchizophrenia Bulletin
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2020


  • basal ganglia-thalamus-cortex circuits
  • functional network
  • morphological network
  • schizophrenia
  • structural network


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