A Comparison Of Structural Connectivity In Anxious Depression Versus Non-anxious Depression

Delaparte, Lauren; Yeh, Fang-Cheng; Adams, Phil; Malchow, Ashley; Trivedi, Madhukar H.; Oquendo, Maria A.; Deckersbach, Thilo; Ogden, R. Todd; Pizzagalli, Diego A.; Fava, Maurizio; Cooper, Crystal; McInnis, Melvin; Kurian, Benji T.; Weissman, Myrna M.; McGrath, Patrick J.; Klein, Daniel N.; Parsey, Ramin V.; DeLorenzo, Christine

Background: Major depressive disorder (MDD) and anxiety disorders are highly co-morbid. Research has shown conflicting evidence for white matter alteration and amygdala volume reduction in mood and anxiety disorders. To date, no studies have examined differences in structural connectivity between anxious depressed and non-anxious depressed individuals. This study compared fractional anisotropy (FA) and density of selected white matter tracts and amygdala volume between anxious depressed and non-anxious depressed individuals. Methods: 64- direction DTI and T1 scans were collected from 110 unmedicated subjects with MDD, 39 of whom had a co-morbid anxiety disorder diagnosis. Region of interest (ROI) and tractography methods were performed to calculate amygdala volume and FA in the uncinate fasciculus, respectively. Diffusion connectometry was performed to identify whole brain group differences in white matter health. Correlations were computed between biological and clinical measures. Results: Tractography and ROI analyses showed no significant differences between bilateral FA values or bilateral amygdala volumes when comparing the anxious depressed and non-anxious depressed groups. The diffusion connectometry analysis showed no significant differences in anisotropy between the groups. Furthermore, there were no significant relationships between MRI-based and clinical measures. Conclusion: The lack of group differences could indicate that structural connectivity and amygdalae volumes of those with anxious-depression are not significantly altered by a co-morbid anxiety disorder. Improving understanding of anxiety co-morbid with MDD would facilitate development of treatments that more accurately target the underlying networks.


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Journal of Psychiatric Research

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February 1, 2022