Cortical thickness reductions are evident in schizophrenia (SZ). Associations between antipsychotic medications (APMs) and cortical morphometry have been explored in SZ patients. This raises the question of whether the reconfiguration of morphological architecture by APM plays potential compensatory roles for abnormalities in the cerebral cortex. Structural magnetic resonance imaging was obtained from 127 medication-naive first-episode SZ patients and 133 matched healthy controls. Patients received 12 weeks of APM and were categorized as responders (n = 75) or nonresponders (NRs, n = 52) at follow-up. Using surface-based morphometry and structural covariance (SC) analysis, this study investigated the short-term effects of antipsychotics on cortical thickness and cortico-cortical covariance. Global efficiency was computed to characterize network integration of the large-scale structural connectome. The relationship between covariance and cortical thinning was examined by SC analysis among the top-n regions with thickness reduction. Widespread cortical thickness reductions were observed in pre-APM patients. Post-APM patients showed more reductions in cortical thickness, even in the frontotemporal regions without baseline reductions. Covariance analysis revealed strong cortico-cortical covariance and higher network integration in responders than in NRs. For the NRs, some of the prefrontal and temporal nodes were not covariant between the top-n regions with cortical thickness reduction. Antipsychotic effects are not restricted to a single brain region but rather exhibit a network-level covariance pattern. Neuroimaging connectomics highlights the positive effects of antipsychotics on the reconfiguration of brain architecture, suggesting that abnormalities in regional morphology may be compensated by increasing interregional covariance when symptoms are controlled by antipsychotics.
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