Correlations between sadness-induced cerebral activations and schizophrenia symptoms: An fMRI study of sex differences

A. Mendrek, J. A. Jiménez, A. Mancini-Marïe, C. Fahim, E. Stip

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The functional neuroimaging studies of emotion processing in schizophrenia have revealed variable results attributed partly to differential symptomatology and sex of tested patients. The aim of the present study was to investigate the relationship between cerebral activations during exposure to emotional material and schizophrenia symptoms in men versus women. Method: Fifteen men and 10 women with schizophrenia, equivalent in terms of age, medication and experienced symptomatology, underwent functional MRI during viewing sad and neutral film excerpts. Data were analyzed using Statistical Parametric Mapping Software (SPM2). Results: Across all the patients there was a significant inverse relationship between negative symptoms and activations in the right prefrontal cortex during processing of sad versus neutral stimuli. In men, activations during sad versus neutral stimuli in the prefrontal, temporal and anterior cingulate cortex, as well as the caudate and cerebellum, were positively correlated with negative symptoms. In women, there were inverse correlations between positive symptoms and activations in the hippocampus, parietal and occipital cortex during the same condition. Conclusion: Present results confirmed association of prefrontal hypofunction with negative symptoms in schizophrenia. More interestingly, the results revealed a diametrically different pattern of symptom-correlated brain activity in men and women with schizophrenia, suggesting that the processing of sadness is mediated via neurophysiological mechanism related to negative symptoms in men and the mechanism related to positive symptoms in women.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)320-326
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Psychiatry
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Emotion processing
  • FMRI
  • Positive and negative symptoms
  • Schizophrenia
  • Sex differences

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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