Psychiatry - Research Publications

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    Plasma neurofilament light chain is not elevated in people with first-episode psychosis or those at ultra-high risk for psychosis
    Kang, MJY ; Eratne, D ; Wannan, C ; Santillo, AF ; Velakoulis, D ; Pantelis, C ; Cropley, V (ELSEVIER, 2024-05)
    INTRODUCTION: Neurofilament light chain (NfL), a blood biomarker of neuronal injury, shows promise in distinguishing neurodegenerative disorders from psychiatric conditions. This is especially relevant in psychosis, given neurological conditions such as autoimmune encephalitis and Niemann Pick Type C disease (NPC) may initially present with psychotic symptoms. Whilst NfL levels have been studied in established schizophrenia cases, their levels in first-episode psychosis (FEP) and ultra-high risk (UHR) for psychosis individuals remain largely unexplored. This study aimed to compare plasma NfL in people with FEP or UHR with healthy controls, as well as explore its associations with clinical data. METHOD: We retrospectively analysed plasma NfL in 63 participants, consisting of 29 individuals with FEP, 10 individuals with UHR, and 24 healthy controls. We used general linear models (GLM), which were bootstrapped, to compute bias-corrected and accelerated (BCa) 95 % confidence intervals (CIs). RESULTS: Mean NfL levels were 5.2 pg/mL in FEP, 4.9 pg/mL in UHR, and 5.9 pg/mL in healthy controls. Compared to healthy controls, there were no significant differences in NfL levels in the FEP group (β = -0.22, 95 % CI [-0.86, 0.39], p = 0.516) nor UHR group (β = -0.37, 95 % CI [-0.90, 0.19], p = 0.182). There were no significant associations between NfL levels and clinical variables in the FEP group. DISCUSSION: Our study is the first to demonstrate that plasma NfL levels are not significantly elevated in individuals at UHR for psychosis compared to healthy controls, a finding also observed in the FEP cohort. These findings bolster the potential diagnostic utility of NfL in differentiating between psychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders.
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    Extreme deviations from the normative model reveal cortical heterogeneity and associations with negative symptom severity in first-episode psychosis from the OPTiMiSE and GAP studies
    Worker, A ; Berthert, P ; Lawrence, AJ ; Kia, SM ; Arango, C ; Dinga, R ; Galderisi, S ; Glenthoj, B ; Kahn, RS ; Leslie, A ; Murray, RM ; Pariante, CM ; Pantelis, C ; Weiser, M ; Winter-van Rossum, I ; Mcguire, P ; Dazzan, P ; Marquand, AF (SPRINGERNATURE, 2023-12-02)
    There is currently no quantifiable method to predict long-term clinical outcomes in patients presenting with a first episode of psychosis. A major barrier to developing useful markers for this is biological heterogeneity, where many different pathological mechanisms may underly the same set of symptoms in different individuals. Normative modelling has been used to quantify this heterogeneity in established psychotic disorders by identifying regions of the cortex which are thinner than expected based on a normative healthy population range. These brain atypicalities are measured at the individual level and therefore potentially useful in a clinical setting. However, it is still unclear whether alterations in individual brain structure can be detected at the time of the first psychotic episode, and whether they are associated with subsequent clinical outcomes. We applied normative modelling of cortical thickness to a sample of first-episode psychosis patients, with the aim of quantifying heterogeneity and to use any pattern of cortical atypicality to predict symptoms and response to antipsychotic medication at timepoints from baseline up to 95 weeks (median follow-ups = 4). T1-weighted brain magnetic resonance images from the GAP and OPTiMiSE samples were processed with Freesurfer V6.0.0 yielding 148 cortical thickness features. An existing normative model of cortical thickness (n = 37,126) was adapted to integrate data from each clinical site and account for effects of gender and site. Our test sample consisted of control participants (n = 149, mean age = 26, SD = 6.7) and patient data (n = 295, mean age = 26, SD = 6.7), this sample was used for estimating deviations from the normative model and subsequent statistical analysis. For each individual, the 148 cortical thickness features were mapped to centiles of the normative distribution and converted to z-scores reflecting the distance from the population mean. Individual cortical thickness metrics of +/- 2.6 standard deviations from the mean were considered extreme deviations from the norm. We found that no more than 6.4% of psychosis patients had extreme deviations in a single brain region (regional overlap) demonstrating a high degree of heterogeneity. Mann-Whitney U tests were run on z-scores for each region and significantly lower z-scores were observed in FEP patients in the frontal, temporal, parietal and occipital lobes. Finally, linear mixed-effects modelling showed that negative deviations in cortical thickness in parietal and temporal regions at baseline are related to more severe negative symptoms over the medium-term. This study shows that even at the early stage of symptom onset normative modelling provides a framework to identify individualised cortical markers which can be used for early personalised intervention and stratification.
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    A multivariate cognitive approach to predict social functioning in recent onset psychosis in response to computerized cognitive training
    Walter, N ; Wenzel, J ; Haas, SS ; Squarcina, L ; Bonivento, C ; Ruef, A ; Dwyer, D ; Lichtenstein, T ; Bastruek, O ; Stainton, A ; Antonucci, LA ; Brambilla, P ; Wood, SJ ; Upthegrove, R ; Borgwardt, S ; Lencer, R ; Meisenzahl, E ; Salokangas, RKR ; Pantelis, C ; Bertolino, A ; Koutsouleris, N ; Kambeitz, J ; Kambeitz-Ilankovic, L (PERGAMON-ELSEVIER SCIENCE LTD, 2024-01-10)
    Clinical and neuroimaging data has been increasingly used in recent years to disentangle heterogeneity of treatment response to cognitive training (CT) and predict which individuals may achieve the highest benefits. CT has small to medium effects on improving cognitive and social functioning in recent onset psychosis (ROP) patients, who show the most profound cognitive and social functioning deficits among psychiatric patients. We employed multivariate pattern analysis (MVPA) to investigate the potential of cognitive data to predict social functioning improvement in response to 10 h of CT in patients with ROP. A support vector machine (SVM) classifier was trained on the naturalistic data of the Personalized Prognostic Tools for Early Psychosis Management (PRONIA) study sample to predict functioning in an independent sample of 70 ROP patients using baseline cognitive data. PRONIA is a part of a FP7 EU grant program that involved 7 sites across 5 European countries, designed and conducted with the main aim of identifying (bio)markers associated with an enhanced risk of developing psychosis in order to improve early detection and prognosis. Social functioning was predicted with a balanced accuracy (BAC) of 66.4% (Sensitivity 78.8%; Specificity 54.1%; PPV 60.5%; NPV 74.1%; AUC 0.64; P = 0.01). The most frequently selected cognitive features (mean feature weights > ± 0.2) included the (1) correct number of symbol matchings within the Digit Symbol Substitution Test, (2) the number of distracting stimuli leading to an error within 300 and 200 trials in the Continuous Performance Test and (3) the dynamics of verbal fluency between 15 and 30 s within the Verbal Fluency Test, phonetic part. Next, the SVM classifier generated on the PRONIA sample was applied to the intervention sample, that obtained 54 ROP patients who were randomly assigned to a social cognitive training (SCT) or treatment as usual (TAU) group and dichotomized into good (GF-S ≥ 7) and poor (GF-S < 7) functioning patients based on their level of Global Functioning-Social (GF-S) score at follow-up (FU). By applying the initial PRONIA classifier, using out-of-sample cross-validation (OOCV) to the sample of ROP patients who have undergone the CT intervention, a BAC of 59.3% (Sensitivity 70.4%; Specificity 48.1%; PPV 57.6%; NPV 61.9%; AUC 0.63) was achieved at T0 and a BAC of 64.8% (Sensitivity 66.7%; Specificity 63.0%; PPV 64.3%; NPV 65.4%; AUC 0.66) at FU. After SCT intervention, a significant improvement in predicted social functioning values was observed in the SCT compared to TAU group (P ≤0.05; ES[Cohens' d] = 0.18). Due to a small sample size and modest variance of social functioning of the intervention sample it was not feasible to predict individual response to SCT in the current study. Our findings suggest that the use of baseline cognitive data could provide a robust individual estimate of future social functioning, while prediction of individual response to SCT using cognitive data that can be generated in the routine patient care remains to be addressed in large-scale cognitive training trials.
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    Plasma neurofilament light in behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia compared to mood and psychotic disorders
    Eratne, D ; Kang, M ; Malpas, C ; Simpson-Yap, S ; Lewis, C ; Dang, C ; Grewal, J ; Coe, A ; Dobson, H ; Keem, M ; Chiu, W-H ; Kalincik, T ; Ooi, S ; Darby, D ; Brodtmann, A ; Hansson, O ; Janelidze, S ; Blennow, K ; Zetterberg, H ; Walker, A ; Dean, O ; Berk, M ; Wannan, C ; Pantelis, C ; Loi, SM ; Walterfang, M ; Berkovic, SF ; Santillo, AF ; Velakoulis, D (SAGE PUBLICATIONS LTD, 2024-01)
    OBJECTIVE: Blood biomarkers of neuronal injury such as neurofilament light (NfL) show promise to improve diagnosis of neurodegenerative disorders and distinguish neurodegenerative from primary psychiatric disorders (PPD). This study investigated the diagnostic utility of plasma NfL to differentiate behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD, a neurodegenerative disorder commonly misdiagnosed initially as PPD), from PPD, and performance of large normative/reference data sets and models. METHODS: Plasma NfL was analysed in major depressive disorder (MDD, n = 42), bipolar affective disorder (BPAD, n = 121), treatment-resistant schizophrenia (TRS, n = 82), bvFTD (n = 22), and compared to the reference cohort (Control Group 2, n = 1926, using GAMLSS modelling), and age-matched controls (Control Group 1, n = 96, using general linear models). RESULTS: Large differences were seen between bvFTD (mean NfL 34.9 pg/mL) and all PPDs and controls (all < 11 pg/mL). NfL distinguished bvFTD from PPD with high accuracy, sensitivity (86%), and specificity (88%). GAMLSS models using reference Control Group 2 facilitated precision interpretation of individual levels, while performing equally to or outperforming models using local controls. Slightly higher NfL levels were found in BPAD, compared to controls and TRS. CONCLUSIONS: This study adds further evidence on the diagnostic utility of NfL to distinguish bvFTD from PPD of high clinical relevance to a bvFTD differential diagnosis, and includes the largest cohort of BPAD to date. Using large reference cohorts, GAMLSS modelling and the interactive Internet-based application we developed, may have important implications for future research and clinical translation. Studies are underway investigating utility of plasma NfL in diverse neurodegenerative and primary psychiatric conditions in real-world clinical settings.
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    Beyond the Global Brain Differences: Intraindividual Variability Differences in 1q21.1 Distal and 15q11.2 BP1-BP2 Deletion Carriers
    Boen, R ; Kaufmann, T ; van der Meer, D ; Frei, O ; Agartz, I ; Ames, D ; Andersson, M ; Armstrong, NJ ; Artiges, E ; Atkins, JR ; Bauer, J ; Benedetti, F ; Boomsma, DI ; Brodaty, H ; Brosch, K ; Buckner, RL ; Cairns, MJ ; Calhoun, V ; Caspers, S ; Cichon, S ; Corvin, AP ; Crespo-Facorro, B ; Dannlowski, U ; David, FS ; de Geus, EJC ; de Zubicaray, GI ; Desrivieres, S ; Doherty, JL ; Donohoe, G ; Ehrlich, S ; Eising, E ; Espeseth, T ; Fisher, SE ; Forstner, AJ ; Fortaner-Uya, L ; Frouin, V ; Fukunaga, M ; Ge, T ; Glahn, DC ; Goltermann, J ; Grabe, HJ ; Green, MJ ; Groenewold, NA ; Grotegerd, D ; Grontvedt, GR ; Hahn, T ; Hashimoto, R ; Hehir-Kwa, JY ; Henskens, FA ; Holmes, AJ ; Haberg, AK ; Haavik, J ; Jacquemont, S ; Jansen, A ; Jockwitz, C ; Joensson, EG ; Kikuchi, M ; Kircher, T ; Kumar, K ; Le Hellard, S ; Leu, C ; Linden, DE ; Liu, J ; Loughnan, R ; Mather, KA ; Mcmahon, KL ; Mcrae, AF ; Medland, SE ; Meinert, S ; Moreau, CA ; Morris, DW ; Mowry, BJ ; Muehleisen, TW ; Nenadic, I ; Noethen, MM ; Nyberg, L ; Ophoff, RA ; Owen, MJ ; Pantelis, C ; Paolini, M ; Paus, T ; Pausova, Z ; Persson, K ; Quide, Y ; Marques, TR ; Sachdev, PS ; Sando, SB ; Schall, U ; Scott, RJ ; Selbaek, G ; Shumskaya, E ; Silva, AI ; Sisodiya, SM ; Stein, F ; Stein, DJ ; Straube, B ; Streit, F ; Strike, LT ; Teumer, A ; Teutenberg, L ; Thalamuthu, A ; Tooney, PA ; Tordesillas-Gutierrez, D ; Trollor, JN ; Van't Ent, D ; van den Bree, MBM ; van Haren, NEM ; Vazquez-Bourgon, J ; Voelzke, H ; Wen, W ; Wittfeld, K ; Ching, CRK ; Westlye, LT ; Thompson, PM ; Bearden, CE ; Selmer, KK ; Alnaes, D ; Andreassen, OA ; Sonderby, IE (ELSEVIER SCIENCE INC, 2024-01-15)
    BACKGROUND: Carriers of the 1q21.1 distal and 15q11.2 BP1-BP2 copy number variants exhibit regional and global brain differences compared with noncarriers. However, interpreting regional differences is challenging if a global difference drives the regional brain differences. Intraindividual variability measures can be used to test for regional differences beyond global differences in brain structure. METHODS: Magnetic resonance imaging data were used to obtain regional brain values for 1q21.1 distal deletion (n = 30) and duplication (n = 27) and 15q11.2 BP1-BP2 deletion (n = 170) and duplication (n = 243) carriers and matched noncarriers (n = 2350). Regional intra-deviation scores, i.e., the standardized difference between an individual's regional difference and global difference, were used to test for regional differences that diverge from the global difference. RESULTS: For the 1q21.1 distal deletion carriers, cortical surface area for regions in the medial visual cortex, posterior cingulate, and temporal pole differed less and regions in the prefrontal and superior temporal cortex differed more than the global difference in cortical surface area. For the 15q11.2 BP1-BP2 deletion carriers, cortical thickness in regions in the medial visual cortex, auditory cortex, and temporal pole differed less and the prefrontal and somatosensory cortex differed more than the global difference in cortical thickness. CONCLUSIONS: We find evidence for regional effects beyond differences in global brain measures in 1q21.1 distal and 15q11.2 BP1-BP2 copy number variants. The results provide new insight into brain profiling of the 1q21.1 distal and 15q11.2 BP1-BP2 copy number variants, with the potential to increase understanding of the mechanisms involved in altered neurodevelopment.
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    Combining Clinical With Cognitive or Magnetic Resonance Imaging Data for Predicting Transition to Psychosis in Ultra High-Risk Patients: Data From the PACE 400 Cohort
    Hartmann, S ; Cearns, M ; Pantelis, C ; Dwyer, D ; Cavve, B ; Byrne, E ; Scott, I ; Yuen, HP ; Gao, C ; Allott, K ; Lin, A ; Wood, SJ ; Wigman, JTW ; Amminger, GP ; McGorry, PD ; Yung, AR ; Nelson, B ; Clark, SR (Elsevier, 2024-04)
    BACKGROUND: Multimodal modeling that combines biological and clinical data shows promise in predicting transition to psychosis in individuals who are at ultra-high risk. Individuals who transition to psychosis are known to have deficits at baseline in cognitive function and reductions in gray matter volume in multiple brain regions identified by magnetic resonance imaging. METHODS: In this study, we used Cox proportional hazards regression models to assess the additive predictive value of each modality-cognition, cortical structure information, and the neuroanatomical measure of brain age gap-to a previously developed clinical model using functioning and duration of symptoms prior to service entry as predictors in the Personal Assessment and Crisis Evaluation (PACE) 400 cohort. The PACE 400 study is a well-characterized cohort of Australian youths who were identified as ultra-high risk of transitioning to psychosis using the Comprehensive Assessment of At Risk Mental States (CAARMS) and followed for up to 18 years; it contains clinical data (from N = 416 participants), cognitive data (n = 213), and magnetic resonance imaging cortical parameters extracted using FreeSurfer (n = 231). RESULTS: The results showed that neuroimaging, brain age gap, and cognition added marginal predictive information to the previously developed clinical model (fraction of new information: neuroimaging 0%-12%, brain age gap 7%, cognition 0%-16%). CONCLUSIONS: In summary, adding a second modality to a clinical risk model predicting the onset of a psychotic disorder in the PACE 400 cohort showed little improvement in the fit of the model for long-term prediction of transition to psychosis.
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    Genetic and Epigenetic Regulation in Lingo-1: Effects on Cognitive Function and White Matter Microstructure in a Case-Control Study for Schizophrenia
    Andrews, JL ; Zalesky, A ; Nair, S ; Sullivan, RP ; Green, MJ ; Pantelis, C ; Newell, KA ; Fernandez, F (MDPI, 2023-11)
    Leucine-rich repeat and immunoglobulin domain-containing protein (Lingo-1) plays a vital role in a large number of neuronal processes underlying learning and memory, which are known to be disrupted in schizophrenia. However, Lingo-1 has never been examined in the context of schizophrenia. The genetic association of a single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP, rs3144) and methylation (CpG sites) in the Lingo-1 3'-UTR region was examined, with the testing of cognitive dysfunction and white matter (WM) integrity in a schizophrenia case-control cohort (n = 268/group). A large subset of subjects (97 control and 161 schizophrenia subjects) underwent structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) brain scans to assess WM integrity. Frequency of the rs3144 minor allele was overrepresented in the schizophrenia population (p = 0.03), with an odds ratio of 1.39 (95% CI 1.016-1.901). CpG sites surrounding rs3144 were hypermethylated in the control population (p = 0.032) compared to the schizophrenia group. rs3144 genotype was predictive of membership to a subclass of schizophrenia subjects with generalized cognitive deficits (p < 0.05), in addition to having associations with WM integrity (p = 0.018). This is the first study reporting a potential implication of genetic and epigenetic risk factors in Lingo-1 in schizophrenia. Both of these genetic and epigenetic alterations may also have associations with cognitive dysfunction and WM integrity in the context of the schizophrenia pathophysiology.
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    Investigation of Brain Iron in Niemann-Pick Type C: A 7T Quantitative Susceptibility Mapping Study
    Ravanfar, P ; Syeda, WT ; Rushmore, RJ ; Moffat, B ; Lyall, AE ; Merritt, AH ; Devenyi, GA ; Chakravarty, MM ; Desmond, P ; Cropley, VL ; Makris, N ; Shenton, ME ; Bush, AI ; Velakoulis, D ; Pantelis, C ; Walterfang, M (AMER SOC NEURORADIOLOGY, 2023-06-22)
    BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: While brain iron dysregulation has been observed in several neurodegenerative disorders, its association with the progressive neurodegeneration in Niemann-Pick type C is unknown. Systemic iron abnormalities have been reported in patients with Niemann-Pick type C and in animal models of Niemann-Pick type C. In this study, we examined brain iron using quantitative susceptibility mapping MR imaging in individuals with Niemann-Pick type C compared with healthy controls. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A cohort of 10 patients with adolescent- and adult-onset Niemann-Pick type C and 14 age- and sex-matched healthy controls underwent 7T brain MR imaging with T1 and quantitative susceptibility mapping acquisitions. A probing whole-brain voxelwise comparison of quantitative susceptibility mapping between groups was conducted. Mean quantitative susceptibility mapping in the ROIs (thalamus, hippocampus, putamen, caudate nucleus, and globus pallidus) was further compared. The correlations between regional volume, quantitative susceptibility mapping values, and clinical features, which included disease severity on the Iturriaga scale, cognitive function, and the Social and Occupational Functioning Assessment Scale, were explored as secondary analyses. RESULTS: We observed lower volume in the thalamus and voxel clusters of higher quantitative susceptibility mapping in the pulvinar nuclei bilaterally in patients with Niemann-Pick type C compared with the control group. In patients with Niemann-Pick type C, higher quantitative susceptibility mapping in the pulvinar nucleus clusters correlated with lower volume of the thalamus on both sides. Moreover, higher quantitative susceptibility mapping in the right pulvinar cluster was associated with greater disease severity. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest iron deposition in the pulvinar nucleus in Niemann-Pick type C disease, which is associated with thalamic atrophy and disease severity. This preliminary evidence supports the link between iron and neurodegeneration in Niemann-Pick type C, in line with existing literature on other neurodegenerative disorders.
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    Investigation of brain iron in anorexia nervosa, a quantitative susceptibility mapping study
    Ravanfar, P ; Rushmore, RJ ; Lyall, AEE ; Cropley, V ; Makris, N ; Desmond, P ; Velakoulis, D ; Shenton, MEE ; Bush, AII ; Rossell, SLL ; Pantelis, C ; Syeda, WTT ; Phillipou, A (BMC, 2023-08-21)
    BACKGROUND: Anorexia nervosa (AN) is a potentially fatal psychiatric condition, associated with structural brain changes such as gray matter volume loss. The pathophysiological mechanisms for these changes are not yet fully understood. Iron is a crucial element in the development and function of the brain. Considering the systemic alterations in iron homeostasis in AN, we hypothesized that brain iron would be altered as a possible factor associated with structural brain changes in AN. METHODS: In this study, we used quantitative susceptibility mapping (QSM) magnetic resonance imaging to investigate brain iron in current AN (c-AN) and weight-restored AN compared with healthy individuals. Whole-brain voxel wise comparison was used to probe areas with possible group differences. Further, the thalamus, caudate nucleus, putamen, nucleus accumbens, hippocampus, and amygdala were selected as the regions of interest (ROIs) for ROI-based comparison of mean QSM values. RESULTS: Whole-brain voxel-wise and ROI-based comparison of QSM did not reveal any differences between groups. Exploratory analyses revealed a correlation between higher regional QSM (higher iron) and lower body mass index, higher illness severity, longer illness duration, and younger age at onset in the c-AN group. CONCLUSIONS: This study did not find evidence of altered brain iron in AN compared to healthy individuals. However, the correlations between clinical variables and QSM suggest a link between brain iron and weight status or biological processes in AN, which warrants further investigation.
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    Genetic variation in glutamatergic genes moderates the effects of childhood adversity on brain volume and IQ in treatment-resistant schizophrenia
    Saini, SM ; Bousman, CA ; Mancuso, SG ; Cropley, V ; Van Rheenen, TE ; Lenroot, RK ; Bruggemann, J ; Weickert, CS ; Weickert, TW ; Sundram, S ; Everall, IP ; Pantelis, C (Nature Portfolio, 2023-09-14)