Steady state auditory evoked potentials (SSAEPs) in the electroencephalogram (EEG) and magnetoencephalogram (MEG) have been reported to be reduced in schizophrenia, most consistently to frequencies in the gamma range (40 Hz and greater). The current study evaluated the specificity of this deficit over a broad range of stimulus frequencies and harmonics, the relationship between phase locking and signal power, and whether induced 40 Hz activity was also affected. SSAEPs to amplitude modulated tones from 5 to 50 Hz were obtained from subjects with schizophrenia (SZ) and healthy control subjects in 5 Hz steps. Time-frequency spectral analysis was used to differentiate EEG activity synchronized in phase across trials using Phase Locking Factor (PLF) and Mean Power (MP) change from baseline activity. In the SSAEP frequency response condition, patients with SZ showed broad band reductions in both PLF and MP. In addition, the control subjects showed a more pronounced increase in PLF with increases in power compared to SZ subjects. A noise pulse embedded in 40 Hz stimuli resulted in a transient reduction of PLF and MP at 40 Hz in control subjects, while SZ showed diminished overall PLF. Finally, induced gamma (around 40 Hz) response to unmodulated tone stimuli was also reduced in SZ, indicating that disturbances in this oscillatory activity are not confined to SSAEPs. In summary, SZ subjects show impaired oscillatory responses in the gamma range across a wide variety of experimental conditions. Reduction of PLF along with reduced MP may reflect abnormalities in the auditory cortical circuits, such as a reduction in pyramidal cell volume, spine density and alterations in GABAergic neurons.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cognitive Neuroscience