Increased Depressive Symptoms are Associated with Larger Gray and White Matter Regional Volume

Moyra Mortby, Nicolas Cherbuin, Andrew Janke, Perminder Singh Sachdev, Kaarin Anstey

    Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting Abstractpeer-review


    Background: Depression is a known risk factor for cognitive decline and dementia, but the evidence on associations between brain structure and depressive symptomatology is mixed. This study investigates the association of depressive symptoms with regional gray/white matter volumes in a large cohort of cognitively healthy, older, community welling individuals (68-73 years) from the PATH Through Life project at wave 3 (N=244). Method: Pre-processing and voxelwise analysis of regional gray/white matter volumes of T1-weighted images was conducted in SPM8. Individuals on antidepressant medication were excluded from these analyses (n=19). Results: Voxelwise analyses controlling for age, sex, anxiety, MMSE, BMI, diabetes and hypertension showed a positive association between increased depressive symptoms and greater regional gray matter volumes in the parietal, temporal and occipital lobes, and white matter volumes in the temporal and limbic cortex (α=0.001). No negative association was found. Conclusion: While these findings contrast with the growing evidence of pre-frontal and oribitofrontal cortex degeneration in depression, they complement other findings suggesting increased gray matter volumes in the cingulate gyrus as a marker of early neuronal pathology. Possible explanations for the current findings include that increased regional gray/white matter volumes may reflect neuronal overgrowth, deficits in the pruning process of neurogenesis, neural maturation following antidepressant treatment or the impact of early inflammatory processes in depression. Future research should consider i) increased regional volumes as a marker for early neurodegenerative processes and ii) the role that inflammatory processes play in the association between increased regional volumes, depressive symptoms and cognitive decline
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)319pp
    JournalIncreased Depressive Symptoms are Associated with Larger Gray and White Matter Regional Volume
    Publication statusPublished - 2012
    Event65th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Gerontological Society of America - San Diego, United States
    Duration: 1 Jan 2012 → …


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