Auditory verbal hallucination (AVH) is one of the most remarkable symptoms of schizophrenia, with great impact on patients’ lives and unclear pathogenesis. Neuroimaging studies have indicated that the development of AVHs is associated with white matter alteration, however, there are still inconsistencies in specific findings across previous investigations. The present study aimed to investigate the characteristics of the microstructural integrity of white matter (WM) in first-episode schizophrenia patients who experience auditory hallucinations. Atlas-based Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) analysis was performed to evaluate the white matter integrity in 37 first-episode schizophrenia patients with AVH, 60 schizophrenia patients without AVH, and 50 healthy controls. Compared with the healthy controls group, AVH showed decreased mean fractional anisotropy (FA) in the genu and body of corpus callosum, right posterior corona radiata, left superior corona radiata, left external capsule, right superior fronto-occipital fasciculus, and higher mean diffusivity (MD) in genu of corpus callosum and left fornix and stria terminalis; whereas the nAVH group showed a much more significant reduction of FA and increased MD in broader brain regions. In addition, a significant positive correlation between FA and the severity of AVHs was observed in right posterior corona radiate. These observations collectively demonstrated that a certain degree of preserved fronto-temporal and interhemispheric connectivity in the early stage of schizophrenia might be associated with the brain capability to generate AVHs.
- Auditory verbal hallucination
- First-episode Schizophrenia