The gray matter alterations in major depressive disorder and panic disorder: Putative differences in the pathogenesis

J Affect Disord. 2015 Nov 1;186:1-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2015.07.022. Epub 2015 Jul 14.


Objective: This is a comprehensive study to establish a diagnosis-specific gray matter deficit model for major depressive disorder (MDD) and panic disorder (PD).

Method: We enrolled 53 patients with first-episode medication-naïve PD, 54 healthy controls and 53 patients with first-episode medication-naïve MDD in this study. They were age, handedness and gender matched. All participating subjects all received baseline structural scanning by the 3-Tesla magnetic resonance scanner. The optimized voxel-based morphometry was performed on the 3 groups of subjects and the ANOVA analysis was used to estimate the inter-group gray matter differences between each group.

Results: The PD group had higher gray matter volume than MDD group in the right medial frontal cortex and right temporal gyrus. The PD group had gray matter reductions in the right inferior frontal gyrus and right insula. The MDD group had gray matter reductions in bilateral medial frontal cortex, right superior frontal gyrus, right superior temporal gyrus and bilateral cerebellums.

Conclusion: The gray matter alterations of fronto-insula and fronto-temporo-cerebellum regions probably would be specific for PD and MDD respectively. In addition, the differences of gray matter volume in the fronto-temporal regions would be helpful to differentiate MDD from PD.

Keywords: Fronto-insula; Fronto-limbic-cerebellum; Fronto-temporal; Gray matter; Major depressive disorder; Panic disorder.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cerebellum / pathology
  • Cerebral Cortex / pathology
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / pathology*
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality
  • Gray Matter / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Panic Disorder / pathology*