Resting-state brain activity in major depressive disorder patients and their siblings

Chun-Hong Liu, Xin Ma, Xia Wu, Ting-Ting Fan, Yu Zhang, Fu-Chun Zhou, Li-Jun Li, Feng Li, Chang-Le Tie, Su-Fang Li, Dan Zhang, Zhen Zhou, Jie Dong, Yong-Jun Wang, Li Yao, Chuan-Yue Wang
Journal of Affective Disorders 2013, 149 (1): 299-306

BACKGROUND: Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a highly heritable psychiatric disease, and the existing literature is not robust enough to allow us to evaluate whether MDD-associated biomarkers are state-independent heritable endophenotypes or state markers related to depression per se.

METHODS: Twenty two patients diagnosed with MDD, 22 siblings, as well as 26 gender-, age-, and education-matched healthy subjects, participated in the resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) analysis. We compared the differences in the fractional amplitude of low-frequency fluctuation (fALFF) among the three groups and investigated the correlation between clinical measurements and fALFF in the regions displaying significant group differences.

RESULTS: Both the MDD and siblings groups showed an increased fALFF in the left middle frontal gyrus (l-MFG, Brodmann Area, BA 10) compared to the healthy controls. The MDD groups demonstrated an increased fALFF in the right dorsal medial frontal gyrus (r-DMFG, BA 9) and a decreased fALFF in the bilateral lingual gyrus relative to siblings and healthy controls.

LIMITATIONS: Medication effects, an inability to control subjects' thoughts during imaging.

CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that the dysfunction in the l-MFG may represent an imaging endophenotype which may indicate a risk for MDD. The r-DMFG may play a critical role in depressive symptomatology and may reveal therapeutic target for MDD.

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