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PLoS One. 2017 Sep 14;12(9):e0184712. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0184712. eCollection 2017.

Identify changes of brain regional homogeneity in early and later adult onset patients with first-episode depression using resting-state fMRI.

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Department of Psychiatry, The First Affiliated Hospital of Kunming Medical University, Kunming, Yunnan, China.
Department of Medical Imaging, The First Affiliated Hospital of Kunming Medical University, Kunming, Yunnan, China.
Mental Health Institute of Yunnan Province, Kunming, Yunnan, China.



Previous work exhibited different brain grey matter volume (GMV) changes between patients with early adult onset depression (EOD, age 18-29) and later adult onset depression (LOD, age 30-44) by using 30-year-old as the cut-off age. To identify whether regional homogeneity (ReHo) changes are also different between EOD and LOD by using same cut-off age, we used resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to detect the abnormal ReHo between patients with EOD and LOD in the present study.


Resting-state fMRI scans of 58 patients with EOD, 62 patients with LOD, 60 young healthy controls (HC), and 52 old HC were obtained. The ReHo approach was used to analyze the images.


The ANOVA analysis revealed that the ReHo values in the frontoparietal, occipital, and cerebellar regions were significantly different among the four groups. Relative to patients with LOD, patients with EOD displayed significantly increased ReHo in the left precuneus, and decreased ReHo in the right fusiform. The ReHo values in the left precuneus and the right fusiform had no significant correlation with the score of the depression rating scale or illness duration in both patient subgroups. Compared to young HC, patients with EOD showed significantly increased ReHo in the right frontoparietal regions and the right calcarine. Furthermore, the increased ReHo in the right frontoparietal regions, right insula and left hippocampus, and decreased ReHo in the left inferior occipital gyrus, right middle occipital gyrus, left calcarine, and left supplementary motor area were observed in patients with LOD when compared to old HC.


The ReHo of brain areas that were related to mood regulation was changed in the first-episode, drug-naive adult patients with MDD. Adult patients with EOD and LOD exhibited different ReHo abnormalities relative to each age-matched comparison group, suggesting that depressed adult patients with different age-onset might have different pathological mechanism.

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