Large-scale functional network reorganization in 22q11.2 deletion syndrome revealed by modularity analysis
The 22q11.2 deletion syndrome (22q11DS) is associated with cognitive impairments and a 41% risk of developing schizophrenia. While several studies performed on patients with 22q11DS showed the presence of abnormal functional connectivity in this syndrome, how these alterations affect large-scale network organization is still unknown. Here we performed a network modularity analysis on whole-brain functional connectomes derived from the resting-state fMRI of 40 patients with 22q11DS and 41 healthy control participants, aged between 9 and 30 years old. We then split the sample at 18 years old to obtain two age subgroups and repeated the modularity analyses. We found alterations of modular communities affecting the visuo-spatial network and the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) in both age groups. These results corroborate previous structural and functional studies in 22q11DS that showed early impairment of visuo-spatial processing regions. Furthermore, as ACC has been linked to the development of psychotic symptoms in 22q11DS, the early impairment of its functional connectivity provide further support that ACC alterations may provide potential biomarkers for an increased risk of schizophrenia. Finally, we found an abnormal modularity partition of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) only in adults with 22q11DS, suggesting the presence of an abnormal development of functional network communities during adolescence in 22q11DS. (C) 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.