22q11.2 deletion syndrome (22q11.2DS) is a genetic neurodevelopmental disorder that represents one of the greatest known risk factors for psychosis. Previous studies in psychotic subjects without the deletion have identified a dopaminergic dysfunction in striatal regions, and dysconnectivity of striatocortical systems, as an important mechanism in the emergence of psychosis. Here, we used resting-state functional MRI to examine striatocortical functional connectivity in 22q11.2DS patients. We used a 2 × 2 factorial design including 125 subjects (55 healthy controls, 28 22q11.2DS patients without a history of psychosis, 10 22q11.2DS patients with a history of psychosis, and 32 subjects with a history of psychosis without the deletion), allowing us to identify network effects related to the deletion and to the presence of psychosis. In line with previous results from psychotic patients without 22q11.2DS, we found that there was a dorsal to ventral gradient of hypo- to hyperstriatocortical connectivity related to psychosis across both patient groups. The 22q11.2DS was additionally associated with abnormal functional connectivity in ventral striatocortical networks, with no significant differences identified in the dorsal system. Abnormalities in the ventral striatocortical system observed in these individuals with high genetic risk to psychosis may thus reflect a marker of illness risk.
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- dopaminergic systems
- functional connectivity
- genetic risk to psychosis
- striatal connectivity