State-like changes in the salience network correlate with delusion severity in first-episode psychosis patients

Jonatan M. Panula*, Jussi Alho, Maija Lindgren, Tuula Kieseppä, Jaana Suvisaari, Tuukka T. Raij

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Background and hypothesis: Delusions are characteristic of psychotic disorders; however, the brain correlates of delusions remain poorly known. Imaging studies on delusions typically compare images across individuals. Related confounding of inter-individual differences beyond delusions may be avoided by comparing delusional and non-delusional states within individuals. Study design: We studied correlations of delusions using intra-subject correlation (intra-SC) and inter-subject correlation of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) signal time series, obtained during a movie stimulus at baseline and follow-up. We included 27 control subjects and 24 first-episode psychosis patients, who were free of delusions at follow-up, to calculate intra-SC between fMRI signals obtained during the two time points. In addition, we studied changes in functional connectivity at baseline and during the one-year follow-up using regions where delusion severity correlated with intra-SC as seeds. Results: The intra-SC correlated negatively with the baseline delusion severity in the bilateral anterior insula. In addition, we observed a subthreshold cluster in the anterior cingulate. These three regions constitute the cortical salience network (SN). Functional connectivity between the bilateral insula and the precuneus was weaker in the patients at baseline than in patients at follow-up or in control subjects at any time point. Conclusions: The results suggest that intra-SC is a powerful tool to study brain correlates of symptoms and highlight the role of the SN and internetwork dysconnectivity between the SN and the default mode network in delusions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103234
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalNeuroImage: Clinical
Publication statusPublished - 2022
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Delusions
  • First-episode psychosis
  • fMRI
  • Intra-subject correlation


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