Gamma oscillations (30-90 Hz) have been proposed as a signature of cortical visual information processing, particularly the balance between excitation and inhibition, and as a biomarker of neuropsychiatric diseases. Magnetoencephalography (MEG) provides highly reliable visual-induced gamma oscillation estimates, both at sensor and source level. Recent studies have reported a deficit of visual gamma activity in schizophrenia patients, in medication naive subjects, and high-risk clinical participants, but the genetic contribution to such a deficit has remained unresolved. Here, for the first time, we use a genetic risk score approach to assess the relationship between genetic risk for schizophrenia and visual gamma activity in a population-based sample drawn from a birth cohort. We compared visual gamma activity in a group (N = 104) with a high genetic risk profile score for schizophrenia (SCZ-PRS) to a group with low SCZ-PRS (N = 99). Source-reconstructed V1 activity was extracted using beamformer analysis applied to MEG recordings using individual MRI scans. No group differences were found in the induced gamma peak amplitude or peak frequency. However, a non-parametric statistical contrast of the response spectrum revealed more robust group differences in the amplitude of high-beta/gamma power across the frequency range, suggesting that overall spectral shape carries important biological information beyond the individual frequency peak. Our findings show that changes in gamma band activity correlate with liability to schizophrenia and suggest that the index changes to synaptic function and neuronal firing patterns that are of pathophysiological relevance rather than consequences of the disorder.
- OSCILLATORY NEURONAL SYNCHRONIZATION
- HIGH-FREQUENCY OSCILLATIONS
- PEAK FREQUENCY
- INDIVIDUAL VARIABILITY
- GABA CONCENTRATION