Objective: The insula is involved in general and social cognition, in particular emotion regulation. Aim of this study is to investigate whether insula volume is associated with Intelligence Quotient (IQ) and emotional processing in schizophrenia patients versus healthy controls (HC). Methods: Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) brain scans, IQ and emotional processing tests (Benton Facial Recognition Test [BFRT], Degraded Facial Affect Recognition Task [DFAR], Emotional Mentalizing Task [EMT]) were administered in 246 subjects (133 schizophrenia patients and 113 controls). First order linear regression analyses were performed with group as independent variable and IQ/emotional processing test scores as dependent variables. Second order stepwise linear regression analyses were performed with IQ/emotional processing test scores as independent variables (as well as intracranial volumes, age, gender and cannabis abuse) and right/left insula volumes as dependent ones. A final mediation analysis (Sobel test) was performed to verify if IQ or emotional processing test scores could explain the eventual differences in insula volumes between the two groups. Results: Schizophrenia patients presented lower insula volumes (left: F = 9.72, p < 0.01; right: F = 10.93, p < 0.01) as compared with healthy controls. Smaller insula volumes in schizophrenia patients are mediated by lower IQ scores (Sobel tests: 3.07, p < 0.01 for right insula; 2.72, p < 0.01 for left insula), but not by impairments in emotion processing. Conclusions: IQ, but not emotional processing mediates smaller insula volumes in schizophrenia patients.

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doi.org/10.1016/j.schres.2018.06.048, hdl.handle.net/1765/109034
Schizophrenia Research
Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychology

Caldiroli, A. (Alice), Buoli, M. (Massimiliano), van Haren, N.E.M. (Neeltje E.M.), de Nijs, J. (Jessica), Altamura, A.C. (A. Carlo), & Cahn, W. (2018). The relationship of IQ and emotional processing with insula volume in schizophrenia. Schizophrenia Research. doi:10.1016/j.schres.2018.06.048