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Frontostriatal functional connectivity in major depressive disorder

DOI: 10.1186/2045-5380-1-11

Keywords: depression, functional connectivity, striatum, subgenual anterior cingulate cortex, dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, fMRI

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Functional magnetic resonance images were acquired from 21 currently depressed and 19 never-disordered women during wakeful rest. Using four predefined striatal regions-of-interest, seed-to-whole brain correlations were computed and compared between groups.Compared to controls, depressed participants exhibited attenuated functional connectivity between the ventral striatum and both ventromedial prefrontal cortex and subgenual anterior cingulate cortex. Depressed participants also exhibited stronger connectivity between the dorsal caudate and dorsal prefrontal cortex, which was positively correlated with severity of the disorder.Depressed individuals are characterized by aberrant connectivity in frontostriatal circuits that are posited to support affective and cognitive processing. Further research is required to examine more explicitly the link between patterns of disrupted connectivity and specific symptoms of depression, and the extent to which these patterns precede the onset of depression and normalize with recovery from depressive illness.Major depressive disorder (MDD) is among the most prevalent and debilitating of all psychiatric illnesses, affecting nearly 20% of the US population, or more than 30 million adults, at some point in their lives [1]. MDD is characterized most commonly by sadness and/or by a marked decrease in the ability to experience reward or pleasure (that is, anhedonia). Individuals diagnosed with MDD also often exhibit psychomotor retardation and deficits in executive function, typically reflected by difficulties concentrating, making decisions, and terminating the processing of negative material [2]. Neuroanatomical models of depression, however, have yet to fully account for the range of symptom domains that characterize this disorder.Investigators examining neural functioning in depressed individuals have frequently reported anomalies in the structure and function of the frontal lobes. For example, altered regional blood flow [3] and gl


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