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Assessing auditory processing endophenotypes associated with Schizophrenia in individuals with 22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome

By Ana A. Francisco, John J. Foxe, Douwe J Horsthuis, Danielle DeMaio, Sophie Molholm

Posted 09 Jul 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/696021 (published DOI: 10.1038/s41398-020-0764-3)

Background 22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome (22q11.2DS) is the strongest known molecular risk factor for schizophrenia. Brain responses to auditory stimuli have been studied extensively in schizophrenia and described as potential biomarkers of vulnerability to psychosis. We sought to understand whether these responses might aid in differentiating individuals with 22q11.2DS as a function of psychotic symptoms, and ultimately serve as signals of risk for schizophrenia. Methods A duration oddball paradigm and high-density electrophysiology were used to test auditory processing in 26 individuals with 22q11.2DS (13-35 years old, 17 females) with varying degrees of psychotic symptomatology and in 26 age- and sex-matched neurotypical controls (NT). Presentation rate varied across three levels, to examine the effect of increasing demands on memory and the integrity of sensory adaptation. We tested whether N1 and mismatch negativity (MMN), typically reduced in schizophrenia, related to clinical/cognitive measures, and how they were affected by presentation rate. Results N1 adaptation effects interacted with psychotic symptomatology: Compared to an NT group, individuals with 22q11.2DS but no psychotic symptomatology presented larger adaptation effects, whereas those with psychotic symptomatology presented smaller effects. In contrast, individuals with 22q11.2DS showed increased effects of presentation rate on MMN amplitude, regardless of the presence of symptoms. While IQ and working memory were lower in the 22q11.2DS group, these measures did not correlate with the electrophysiological data. Conclusions These findings suggest the presence of two distinct mechanisms: One intrinsic to 22q11.2DS resulting in increased N1 and MMN responses; another related to psychosis leading to a decreased N1 response.

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