Psychiatry Investig.  2008 Mar;5(1):52-59.

Dysfunction of the Left Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex is Primarily Responsible for Impaired Attentional Processing in Schizophrenia

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Catholic University of Korea, Daejeon St. Mary's Hospital, Daejeon, Korea.
  • 2Department of Psychiatry, Eulji University School of Medicine, Daejeon, Korea.
  • 3Department of Psychiatry, Konyang University College of Medicine, Daejeon, Korea.


OBJECTIVE: The results for finding the deficit in the anterior cingulate (ACC) in schizophrenic patients (SZ) have been inconsistent according to the studies that used different Stroop tasks, which is unlike the deficit in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC). In order to explore for the core region that's responsible for the selective attention deficit in SZ, we examined the results of a functional neuroimaging study, which involved the performance of the Stroop task using high or low prefrontal cortex related loads in SZ.
Ten schizophrenic patients and healthy controls (HC) received functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) during a Short/Long-term latency Stroop task. The changes in the neural activity were determined in well-known Stroop related regions of interest (ROIs) that consisted of the DLPFC, ACC, the parietal lobule and in the whole brain regions for both the main and interaction effects of latency, and the results of the short-term and long-term latency Stroop conditions were compared.
The response times for both the congruency and latency effects were more prolonged in the schizophrenics than in the HC. For the congruency effect, the schizophrenics showed significantly less activation in the same site of the left DLPFC in both the short-term and long-term latency conditions, as compared with the HC. For the latency effect, the regions of the left-side language network were over- or under-activated in the schizophrenics, as compared with the HC. Any interaction effect was not found for both the behavioral and fMRI results.
Our results indicate that the deficit in the left DLPFC is the core impairment of attentional processing in schizophrenics, regardless of other possible interactions such as the latency effect.


Schizophrenia; Attention; Left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex; Magnetic resonance imaging
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