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Biol Psychiatry. 2003 Sep 1;54(5):529-33.

Subcortical lesion severity and orbitofrontal cortex volume in geriatric depression.

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Neuropsychiatric Imaging Research Laboratory and Department of Psychiatry and Social Behavior, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina 27710, USA.


Previous studies have shown a reduction of orbital frontal cortex volume and an increase in magnetic resonance imaging signal hyperintensities in geriatric depression. We aimed to assess the relationship between subcortical gray- and deep white-matter lesions and orbital frontal cortex volume in elderly depressives and controls. The study included 41 elderly depressed patients and 41 age-matched control subjects. The orbital frontal cortex volume was measured in both hemispheres using a standardized MRI procedure. Signal hyperintensities were rated on (T2)-weighted MRI with qualitative lesion analyses performed according to an established hyperintensity classification system. After controlling for total cerebral hemisphere, age and sex, the geriatric depressed subjects had significant reduction in orbital frontal cortex volume and compared with the control group. Multiple linear regression modeling indicated that reduced orbital frontal cortex volumes were significantly associated with increased subcortical gray-matter lesions. Our study confirmed the reduction of OFC volume in geriatric depressed subjects. We also suggest that subcortical lesions may decrease OFC volume. Further studies are needed to understand how subcortical lesions may be related to OFC volume changes.

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