Altered resting-state functional connectivity in late-life depression: A cross-sectional study

J Affect Disord. 2016 Jan 1;189:126-33. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2015.09.011. Epub 2015 Sep 28.


Background: Disrupted brain connectivity is implicated in the pathophysiology of late-life depression (LLD). There are few studies in this area using resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI). In this pilot case-control study, we compare rs-fMRI data between age-matched depressed and non-depressed older adults.

Methods: Older participants (≥55 years) with current major depressive disorder (MDD) were recruited to participate in an ongoing study of LLD, and were compared to the age-matched, non-depressed controls. Rs-fMRI data were collected using a 3-Tesla MRI system. In this study, a data-driven approach was chosen and an independent component analysis (ICA) was performed.

Results: Seventeen subjects with MDD were compared to 31 controls. The depressed group showed increased connectivity in three main networks compared to the controls (p(corr)<0.05), including connectivity between the default mode network (DMN) and the posterior superior temporal sulcus (pSTS). Increased connectivity was also observed within the visual network in the medial, lateral and ventral regions of the occipital lobes, and within the auditory network throughout the right superior temporal cortex.

Conclusion: This data-driven, pilot study finds patterns of increased connectivity that may be unique to LLD in the DMN, as well as visual and auditory networks. The functional implications of this aberrant connectivity remains to be determined. These findings should be further explored in larger samples.

Keywords: Functional connectivity; Geriatric depression; Late-life; Neuroimaging; fMRI.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Functional Neuroimaging
  • Humans
  • Late Onset Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Late Onset Disorders / psychology
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neural Pathways / physiopathology*
  • Occipital Lobe / physiopathology
  • Pilot Projects
  • Rest / psychology*
  • Temporal Lobe / physiopathology*