January 30, 2021
Kozhuharova, P. and Saviola, F. and Diaconescu, A.O. and Allen, P.


Altered hippocampal functioning is proposed to play a critical role in the development of schizophrenia-spectrum disorders. Previous resting state functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (rs-fMRI) studies report disrupted hippocampal connectivity in patients with psychosis and in individuals with clinical high risk, yet hippocampal connectivity has not been investigated in people with high schizotypy traits. Here we used rs-fMRI to examine hippocampal connectivity in healthy people with low (LS, n = 23) and high levels (HS, n = 22) of schizotypal traits assessed using the Schizotypy Personality Questionnaire. Using a bilateral hippocampal seed region, we examined resting state functional connectivity (RSFC) between hippocampus and striatal, thalamic and prefrontal cortex regions of interest. Compared to LS, HS participants showed lower RSFC between hippocampus and striatum and between hippocampus and thalamus. Whilst the group effect of reduced hippocampal RSFC in striatal and thalamic regions was driven by total schizotypy scores, positive schizotypy subfactor scores were significantly positively correlated with hippocampus-caudate/thalamus RSFC. Group differences in RSFC were not observed between hippocampus and prefrontal cortex. These results demonstrate that subclinical schizotypal traits are associated with altered hippocampal connectivity in striatal and thalamic regions and provide further support that hippocampal dysconnectivity confers risk for schizophrenia spectrum disorders.

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