Impaired functional connectivity has been hypothesized as a potential source of the cognitive deficits routinely observed in patients with schizophrenia. Additionally, these deficits may be manifestations of the genetic liability to schizophrenia and present in the non-psychotic first-degree relatives of that group. However, no study has examined task-based functional connectivity in schizophrenia relatives using independent component analysis (ICA). We employed group ICA to test the hypothesis that the unexpressed genetic liability to schizophrenia is reflected in the functional connectivity between brain regions during a task measuring context processing. We compared 20 schizophrenia patients and 32 patients' first-degree relatives to 22 controls demographically matched to the patients and 28 controls' relatives, respectively. The group ICA showed differential connectivity between patients and controls in a task-related network constituting right middle frontal gyrus (MFG) and right posterior parietal lobe. A network constituting left MFG and left posterior parietal, which was also related to the context processing task, did not differ between groups. These findings demonstrate that connectivity abnormalities associated with the genetic liability to schizophrenia are most strongly expressed in a right lateralized executive fronto-parietal network, and that these abnormalities are linked to context processing impairments.
- Functional connectivity
- Genetic liability
- Independent component analysis