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Psychiatry Res. 2013 Jun 30;212(3):208-15. doi: 10.1016/j.pscychresns.2012.07.004. Epub 2012 Nov 11.

Impaired integrity of the brain parenchyma in non-geriatric patients with major depressive disorder revealed by diffusion tensor imaging.

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Hokkaido University Graduate School of Medicine, Department of Radiobiology and Medical Engineering, N-15, W-7, Kita-ku, Sapporo 060-8638, Japan.


Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) is considered to be able to non-invasively quantify white matter integrity. This study aimed to use DTI to evaluate white matter integrity in non-geriatric patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) who were free of antidepressant medication. DTI was performed on 19 non-geriatric patients with MDD, free of antidepressant medication, and 19 age-matched healthy subjects. Voxel-based and histogram analyses were used to compare fractional anisotropy (FA) and mean diffusivity (MD) values between the two groups, using two-sample t tests. The abnormal DTI indices, if any, were tested for correlation with disease duration and severity, using Pearson product-moment correlation analysis. Voxel-based analysis showed clusters with FA decrease at the bilateral frontal white matter, anterior limbs of internal capsule, cerebellum, left putamen and right thalamus of the patients. Histogram analysis revealed lower peak position of FA histograms in the patients. FA values of the abnormal clusters and peak positions of FA histograms of the patients exhibited moderate correlation with disease duration and severity. These results suggest the implication of frontal-subcortical circuits and cerebellum in MDD, and the potential utility of FA in evaluation of brain parenchymal integrity.

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