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Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2019 Sep 6:109759. doi: 10.1016/j.pnpbp.2019.109759. [Epub ahead of print]

Abnormal functional connectivity strength in first-episode, drug-naïve adult patients with major depressive disorder.

Author information

1
Department of Radiology, The First Affiliated Hospital, School of Medicine, Zhejiang University, 79# Qingchun Rd, Hangzhou 310003, China. Electronic address: 1511053@zju.edu.cn.
2
Department of Ultrasound, The Second Affiliated Hospital of Zhejiang University, School of Medicine, Hangzhou 310009, China. Electronic address: 2510060@zju.edu.cn.
3
Department of Radiology, The First Affiliated Hospital, School of Medicine, Zhejiang University, 79# Qingchun Rd, Hangzhou 310003, China.
4
Department of Psychiatry, The Forth Affiliated Hospital, College of Medicine, Zhejiang University, Yiwu 322000, China.
5
Department of Psychiatry, The First Affiliated Hospital, College of Medicine, ZhejiangUniversity, Hangzhou 310003, China.
6
Department of Radiology, The First Affiliated Hospital, School of Medicine, Zhejiang University, 79# Qingchun Rd, Hangzhou 310003, China. Electronic address: 1307017@zju.edu.cn.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The pathogenesis of major depressive disorder (MDD) is complicated and equivocal. Previous studies have found an incidence of abnormal changes of neural networks, with plentiful evidence pointing the finger of suspicion firmly at the default mode network (DMN) and cortico-limbic networks. The aim of the present study was to use the approach of functional connectivity strength (FCS) to directly investigate the features of spontaneous brain activity in the case of first-episode, drug-naïve adult patients with MDD at rest.

METHODS:

Resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans were performed on 23 first-episode drug-naïve major depressive disorder (MDD) patients and 20 healthy controls (HCs). In this study, using graph-theory approaches(FCS), we computed the characteristics of brain connectivity. Simultaneously, we used a series of validated test procedures to evaluate the patients' cognitive function. Subsequently, the results were compared with the peak of FCS value and a correlation analysis was conducted.

RESULTS:

Compared with the HCs group, MDD patients showed significantly decreased FCS in bilateral posterior cingulate cortex (PCC)/precuneus and bilateral prefrontal cortex(PFC) and increased FCS in right posterior central gyrus, left thalamus and left temporal lobe. These brain regions belongs to the default-mode network and cortico-limbic networks. Finally, the correlation analyses showed the negative correlation of the FCS values in the left posterior cingulate cortex (PCC)/precuneus and Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale (HAMA, r = -0.472, p = .023), Stroop Color Word Test-A(SCWT-A, r = -0.451, p = .031), Stroop Color Word Test-B(SCWT-B, r = -0.588, p = .003).Meanwhile, there was negative correlation between the FCS values in the left thalamus and SCWT-A(r = -0.473, p = .023), SCWT-B(r = -0.465, p = .025), SCWTC(r = -0.524, p = .010).In addition, the FCS values in the right PCC has negative correlation with Montgomery Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) (r = -0.433, p = .039).

CONCLUSIONS:

DMN is an important node of MDD. FCS within the default mode network and cortico-limbic networks in patients with major depressive disorder has been changed in the early stage of MDD. FCS can provide favourable and additional evidence in the investigation of brain pathophysiology and therapy in depression.

KEYWORDS:

Cortico-limbic networks; Default mode network (DMN); Functional connectivity magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI); Functional connectivity strength(FCS); Major depressive disorder (MDD)

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