Increased amygdala and parahippocampal gyrus activation in schizophrenic patients with auditory hallucinations: An fMRI study using independent component analysis

Maria Jose Escarti*, Maria de la Iglesia-Vaya, Luis Marti-Bonmati, Montserrat Robles, Jose Carbonell, Juan Jose Lull, Gracian Garcia-Marti, Jose Vicente Manjon, Eduardo Jesus Aguilar, Andre Aleman, Julio Sanjuan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: Hallucinations in patients with schizophrenia have strong emotional connotations. Functional neuroimaging techniques have been widely used to study brain activity in patients with schizophrenia with hallucinations or emotional impairments. However, few of these Studies have investigated the association between hallucinations and emotional dysfunctions using an emotional auditory paradigm. Independent component analysis (ICA) is an analysis method that is especially useful for decomposing activation during complex cognitive tasks in which multiple operations occur simultaneously. Our aim in this Study is to analyze brain activation after the presentation of emotional auditory stimuli in patients with schizophrenia with and without chronic auditory hallucinations using ICA methodology. It was hypothesized that functional connectivity differences in limbic regions responsible for emotional processing would be demonstrated.

Methods: The present functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study compared neural activity in 41 patients with schizophrenia (27 With auditory hallucinations, 14 without auditory hallucinations) with 31 controls. Neural activity data was generated while participants were presented with an auditory paradigm containing emotional words. The comparison was performed using a multivariate approach, ICA. Differences in temporo-spatial aspects of limbic network were examined in three study groups.

Results: Limbic networks responded differently in patients with auditory hallucinations compared to healthy controls and patients without auditory hallucinations. Unlike control subjects and non-hallucinators, the group of hallucinatory patients showed an increase of activity in the parahippocampal gyrus and the amygdala during the emotional session.

Conclusions: These findings may reflect an increase in parahippocampal gyrus and amygdala activity during passive listening of emotional words in patients with schizophrenia and auditory hallucinations. (C) 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-41
Number of pages11
JournalSchizophrenia Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar-2010


  • fMRI
  • Brain activity
  • Independent component analysis
  • Auditory hallucinations
  • Auditory emotional paradigm
  • Schizophrenia

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