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J Psychiatr Res. 2018 Jul;102:223-229. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2018.04.013. Epub 2018 Apr 20.

Altered resting-state connectivity within default mode network associated with late chronotype.

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Department of Psychology, University of Roehampton, UK. Electronic address:
Department of Psychology, University of Roehampton, UK.


Current evidence suggests late chronotype individuals have an increased risk of developing depression. However, the underlying neural mechanisms of this association are not fully understood. Forty-six healthy, right-handed individuals free of current or previous diagnosis of depression, family history of depression or sleep disorder underwent resting-state functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (rsFMRI). Using an Independent Component Analysis (ICA) approach, the Default Mode Network (DMN) was identified based on a well validated template. Linear effects of chronotype on DMN connectivity were tested for significance using non-parametric permutation tests (applying 5000 permutations). Sleep quality, age, gender, measures of mood and anxiety, time of scan and cortical grey matter volume were included as covariates in the regression model. A significant positive correlation between chronotype and functional connectivity within nodes of the DMN was observed, including; bilateral PCC and precuneus, such that later chronotype (participants with lower rMEQ scores) was associated with decreased connectivity within these regions. The current results appear consistent with altered DMN connectivity in depressed patients and weighted evidence towards reduced DMN connectivity in other at-risk populations which may, in part, explain the increased vulnerability for depression in late chronotype individuals. The effect may be driven by self-critical thoughts associated with late chronotype although future studies are needed to directly investigate this.


Chronotype; Default mode network; Major depression; Precuneus; Resting state; fMRI

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