Information derived from functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) during wakeful rest has been introduced as a candidate diagnostic biomarker in unipolar major depressive disorder (MDD). Multiple reports of resting state fMRI in MDD describe group effects. Such prior knowledge can be adopted to pre-select potentially discriminating features for diagnostic classification models with the aim to improve diagnostic accuracy. Purpose of this analysis was to consolidate spatial information about alterations of spontaneous brain activity in MDD, primarily to serve as feature selection for multivariate pattern analysis techniques (MVPA). Thirty two studies were included in final analyses. Coordinates extracted from the original reports were assigned to two categories based on directionality of findings. Meta-analyses were calculated using the non-additive activation likelihood estimation approach with coordinates organized by subject group to account for non-independent samples. Converging evidence revealed a distributed pattern of brain regions with increased or decreased spontaneous activity in MDD. The most distinct finding was hyperactivity/hyperconnectivity presumably reflecting the interaction of cortical midline structures (posterior default mode network components including the precuneus and neighboring posterior cingulate cortices associated with self-referential processing and the subgenual anterior cingulate and neighboring medial frontal cortices) with lateral prefrontal areas related to externally-directed cognition. Other areas of hyperactivity/hyperconnectivity include the left lateral parietal cortex, right hippocampus and right cerebellum whereas hypoactivity/hypoconnectivity was observed mainly in the left temporal cortex, the insula, precuneus, superior frontal gyrus, lentiform nucleus and thalamus. Results are made available in two different data formats to be used as spatial hypotheses in future studies, particularly for diagnostic classification by MVPA.
Keywords: depression; depressive disorder; feature selection; functional neuroimaging; magnetic resonance imaging; meta-analysis.