In this study, network control theory (NCT) was used to investigate transitions between whole-brain neural states measured by functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) during a well-established working memory task. 178 healthy individuals and 24 individuals with schizophrenia were included in the study. Individuals with schizophrenia showed altered network control properties.
Individual prefrontal dopamine receptor expression in each participant was estimated based on genotyping. The hypothesis that the stability of brain states should be related to dopamine receptor function, was tested by functional blocking the receptors using the drugs amisulpride and risperidone in vivo. The obtained data suggest that engagement of working memory involves brain-wide switching between activity states and that the steering of these network dynamics is influenced by dopamine receptor function.
In summary, the utility of NCT for the non-invasive investigation of the mechanistic underpinnings of (altered) brain states and their transitions during cognition was shown.
Brain network dynamics during working memory are modulated by dopamine and diminished in schizophrenia
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