JOURNAL ARTICLE

Evidence of a dissociation pattern in resting-state default mode network connectivity in first-episode, treatment-naive major depression patients

Xueling Zhu, Xiang Wang, Jin Xiao, Jian Liao, Mingtian Zhong, Wei Wang, Shuqiao Yao
Biological Psychiatry 2012 April 1, 71 (7): 611-7
22177602

BACKGROUND: Imaging studies have shown that major depressive disorder (MDD) is associated with altered activity patterns of the default mode network (DMN). However, the neural correlates of the resting-state DMN and MDD-related pathopsychological characteristics, such as depressive rumination and overgeneral autobiographical memory (OGM) phenomena, still remain unclear.

METHODS: Using independent component analysis, we analyzed resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging data obtained from 35 first-episode, treatment-naive young adults with MDD and from 35 matched healthy control subjects.

RESULTS: Patients with MDD exhibited higher levels of rumination and OGM than did the control subjects. We observed increased functional connectivity in the anterior medial cortex regions (especially the medial prefrontal cortex and anterior cingulate cortex) and decreased functional connectivity in the posterior medial cortex regions (especially the posterior cingulate cortex/precuneus) in MDD patients compared with control subjects. In the depressed group, the increased functional connectivity in the anterior medial cortex correlated positively with rumination score, while the decreased functional connectivity in the posterior medial cortex correlated negatively with OGM score.

CONCLUSIONS: We report dissociation between anterior and posterior functional connectivity in resting-state DMNs of first-episode, treatment-naive young adults with MDD. Increased functional connectivity in anterior medial regions of the resting-state DMN was associated with rumination, whereas decreased functional connectivity in posterior medial regions was associated with OGM. These results provide new evidence for the importance of the DMN in the pathophysiology of MDD and suggest that abnormal DMN activity may be an MDD trait.

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