Accumulating evidence suggests that early improvement after two-week antidepressant treatment is predictive of later outcomes of patients with major depressive disorder (MDD); however, whether this early improvement is associated with baseline neural architecture remains largely unknown. Utilizing resting-state functional MRI data and graph-based network approaches, this study calculated voxel-wise degree centrality maps for 24 MDD patients at baseline and linked them with changes in the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAMD) scores after two weeks of medication. Six clusters exhibited significant correlations of their baseline degree centrality with treatment-induced HAMD changes for the patients, which were mainly categorized into the posterior default-mode network (i.e., the left precuneus, supramarginal gyrus, middle temporal gyrus, and right angular gyrus) and frontal regions. Receiver operating characteristic curve and logistic regression analyses convergently revealed excellent performance of these regions in discriminating the early improvement status for the patients, especially the angular gyrus (sensitivity and specificity of 100%). Moreover, the angular gyrus was identified as the optimal regressor as determined by stepwise regression. Interestingly, these regions possessed higher centrality than others in the brain (P < 10(-3)) although they were not the most highly connected hubs. Finally, we demonstrate a high reproducibility of our findings across several factors (e.g., threshold choice, anatomical distance, and temporal cutting) in our analyses. Together, these preliminary exploratory analyses demonstrate the potential of neuroimaging-based network analysis in predicting the early therapeutic improvement of MDD patients and have important implications in guiding earlier personalized therapeutic regimens for possible treatment-refractory depression.
Keywords: centrality; default-mode; depression; early improvement; fMRI; treatment.
© 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.