Dynamic functional network reconfiguration underlying the pathophysiology of schizophrenia and autism spectrum disorder

Zening Fu, Jing Sui, Jessica A. Turner, Yuhui Du, Michal Assaf, Godfrey D. Pearlson, Vince D. Calhoun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The dynamics of the human brain span multiple spatial scales, from connectivity associated with a specific region/network to the global organization, each representing different brain mechanisms. Yet brain reconfigurations at different spatial scales are seldom explored and whether they are associated with the neural aspects of brain disorders is far from understood. In this study, we introduced a dynamic measure called step-wise functional network reconfiguration (sFNR) to characterize how brain configuration rewires at different spatial scales. We applied sFNR to two independent datasets, one includes 160 healthy controls (HCs) and 151 patients with schizophrenia (SZ) and the other one includes 314 HCs and 255 individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). We found that both SZ and ASD have increased whole-brain sFNR and sFNR between cerebellar and subcortical/sensorimotor domains. At the ICN level, the abnormalities in SZ are mainly located in ICNs within subcortical, sensory, and cerebellar domains, while the abnormalities in ASD are more widespread across domains. Interestingly, the overlap SZ-ASD abnormality in sFNR between cerebellar and sensorimotor domains was correlated with the reasoning-problem-solving performance in SZ (r = −.1652, p =.0058) as well as the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule in ASD (r =.1853, p =.0077). Our findings suggest that dynamic reconfiguration deficits may represent a key intersecting point for SZ and ASD. The investigation of brain dynamics at different spatial scales can provide comprehensive insights into the functional reconfiguration, which might advance our knowledge of cognitive decline and other pathophysiology in brain disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)80-94
Number of pages15
JournalHuman Brain Mapping
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • autism spectrum disorder
  • dynamic functional connectivity
  • network reconfiguration at different spatial scales
  • schizophrenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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