Sensory gating P50 (SG-P50) may be involved in the pathophysiological mechanisms of impaired cognition in schizophrenia (SCZ). Comorbid depressive symptoms are common in SCZ patients and are also found to be associated with their cognitive impairment. However, it is unclear whether SG-P50 is abnormal in first episode antipsychotics naïve (FEAN) SCZ patients with depressive symptoms. Our aimed to investigate the relationships between SG-P50, depressive symptoms and neurocognition in FEAN-SCZ patients.
We recruited 103 FEAN-SCZ patients (depression: n = 63; non-depression: n = 40) and 55 healthy controls. SG-P50 was measured using the standard auditory dual-click (S1&S2) paradigm. Clinical symptoms were assessed using the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) and the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale-17 (HDRS-17). Cognitive performance was evaluated using the MATRICS Consensus Cognitive Battery (MCCB).
Compared with non-depressive patients, depressive patients had a significantly larger S2 amplitude (p = 0.005) and a higher S2/S1 ratio at trend level (p = 0.075) after corrected. There were significant differences in the scores of CPT-IP and Mazes (NAB) between depressive and non-depressive FEAN-SCZ patients (both p values < 0.05). For all patients, the SG-P50 S2/S1 ratio was significantly correlated with HDRS-17 score (r = 0.23, p = 0.020) and MCCB-Symbol coding (r = -0.16, p = 0.043). For depressive FEAN-SCZ patients, S2 amplitude was an independent predictor of the MCCB-Mazes (NAB) (β = -0.31, t = -2.52, p = 0.015).
SG-P50 deficit may be an informational biomarker for depressive symptoms and neurocognitive impairments in FEAN-SCZ patients.

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