Contributions of parasympathetic arousal-related activity to cognitive performance in First Episode Psychosis patients and controls

  • Anita D. Barber
    Correspondence
    Address correspondence to: Dr. Anita Barber Division of Psychiatry Research The Zucker Hillside Hospital 75-59 263rd Street Glen Oaks, NY 11004 (718) 470-8162
    Affiliations
    Department of Psychiatry, Zucker Hillside Hospital, 75-59 263rd Street, Glen Oaks, NY, 11004

    Center for Psychiatric Neuroscience, Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, 350 Community Drive, Manhasset, NY, 11030

    Department of Psychiatry, Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell, 500 Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY, 11549
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  • Juan A. Gallego
    Affiliations
    Department of Psychiatry, Zucker Hillside Hospital, 75-59 263rd Street, Glen Oaks, NY, 11004

    Center for Psychiatric Neuroscience, Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, 350 Community Drive, Manhasset, NY, 11030

    Department of Psychiatry, Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell, 500 Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY, 11549
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  • Pamela DeRosse
    Affiliations
    Department of Psychiatry, Zucker Hillside Hospital, 75-59 263rd Street, Glen Oaks, NY, 11004

    Center for Psychiatric Neuroscience, Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, 350 Community Drive, Manhasset, NY, 11030

    Department of Psychiatry, Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell, 500 Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY, 11549
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  • Michael L. Birnbaum
    Affiliations
    Department of Psychiatry, Zucker Hillside Hospital, 75-59 263rd Street, Glen Oaks, NY, 11004

    Center for Psychiatric Neuroscience, Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, 350 Community Drive, Manhasset, NY, 11030

    Department of Psychiatry, Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell, 500 Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY, 11549
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  • Todd Lencz
    Affiliations
    Department of Psychiatry, Zucker Hillside Hospital, 75-59 263rd Street, Glen Oaks, NY, 11004

    Center for Psychiatric Neuroscience, Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, 350 Community Drive, Manhasset, NY, 11030

    Department of Psychiatry, Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell, 500 Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY, 11549
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  • Sana A. Ali
    Affiliations
    Department of Psychiatry, Zucker Hillside Hospital, 75-59 263rd Street, Glen Oaks, NY, 11004

    Center for Psychiatric Neuroscience, Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, 350 Community Drive, Manhasset, NY, 11030
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  • Ashley Moyett
    Affiliations
    Department of Psychiatry, Zucker Hillside Hospital, 75-59 263rd Street, Glen Oaks, NY, 11004

    Center for Psychiatric Neuroscience, Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, 350 Community Drive, Manhasset, NY, 11030
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  • Anil K. Malhotra
    Affiliations
    Department of Psychiatry, Zucker Hillside Hospital, 75-59 263rd Street, Glen Oaks, NY, 11004

    Center for Psychiatric Neuroscience, Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, 350 Community Drive, Manhasset, NY, 11030

    Department of Psychiatry, Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell, 500 Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY, 11549
    Search for articles by this author
Published:October 29, 2021DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bpsc.2021.10.013

      Abstract

      Background

      Cognitive impairment is integral to the pathophysiology of psychosis. Recent findings implicate autonomic arousal-related activity in both momentary fluctuations and individual differences in cognitive performance. Although altered autonomic arousal is common in First Episode Psychosis (FEP) patients, its contribution to cognitive performance is unknown.

      Methods

      24 FEP patients (46% male, age = 24.31 (4.27) years) and 24 healthy controls (42% male, age = 27.06 (3.44) years) performed the Multi-Source Interference Task in-scanner with simultaneous pulse oximetry. First-level models included the cardiac-BOLD regressor, which reflected parasympathetic arousal-related activity and was created by convolving the inter-beat interval at each heartbeat with the hemodynamic response function, in addition to task (congruent, interference, and error) and nuisance (motion and aCompCor physiology) regressors. Group models examined the effect of group or cognitive performance (reaction times * error rate) on arousal-related and task activity, while controlling for sex, age, and Framewise Displacement.

      Results

      Parasympathetic arousal-related activity was robust in both groups, but localized to different regions for FEP patients and healthy control subjects. Within both groups, arousal-related activity was significantly associated with cognitive performance across occipital and temporal cortical regions. Greater arousal-related activity in the bilateral prefrontal cortex (BA 9) was related to better performance in healthy controls, but not FEP patients.

      Conclusions

      Autonomic arousal circuits contribute to cognitive performance and the pathophysiology of FEP. Arousal-related functional activity is a novel indicator of cognitive ability and should be incorporated into neurobiological models of cognition in psychosis.

      KEYWORDS

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