Childhood trauma (CT) has been found to contribute to the onset of schizophrenia and auditory sensory gating deficit is a leading endophenotype for schizophrenia. However, the association between the CT and sensory gating in first-episode schizophrenia remains elusive.
Fifty-six patients and 49 age and sex-matched healthy controls were assessed using the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire-Short Form (CTQ-SF) for CT and Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) for symptoms severity. Sensory gating was tested using the modified paradigm, perceived spatial separation-induced prepulse inhibition (PSS-PPI), and the perceived spatial co-location PPI (PSC-PPI or classical PPI).
Comparing with healthy controls, the patients had significantly higher score on sexual abuse (t = 2.729, p < 0.05), lower PSS- PPI, % (ISI = 120 ms and ISI = 60 ms) (t = − 3.089, − 4.196, p < 0.05). Univariate analysis revealed the absence of a significant correlation among CT, PPI paradigms and symptoms. However, multiple linear regression analyses demonstrated the CTQ-SF total was negatively associated with PSS PPI (ISI = 120 ms) (p = 0.018).
The current study illustrates that the impact of CT on sensory gating in patients with first-episode schizophrenia, and thus we conclude that CT may be a risk factor to the occurrence of schizophrenia through its impact on sensory gating.