A comprehensive hierarchical comparison of structural connectomes in Major Depressive Disorder cases v. controls in two large population samples.

Gladi Thng*, Xueyi Shen, Aleks Stolicyn, Mark J Adams, Hon Wah Yeung, Venia Batziou, Eleanor L S Conole, Colin R Buchanan, Stephen M Lawrie, Mark E Bastin, Andrew M McIntosh, Ian J Deary, Elliot M Tucker-Drob, Simon R Cox, Keith M Smith, Liana Romaniuk, Heather C Whalley

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

BACKGROUND: The brain can be represented as a network, with nodes as brain regions and edges as region-to-region connections. Nodes with the most connections (hubs) are central to efficient brain function. Current findings on structural differences in Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) identified using network approaches remain inconsistent, potentially due to small sample sizes. It is still uncertain at what level of the connectome hierarchy differences may exist, and whether they are concentrated in hubs, disrupting fundamental brain connectivity.

METHODS: We utilized two large cohorts, UK Biobank (UKB, N = 5104) and Generation Scotland (GS, N = 725), to investigate MDD case-control differences in brain network properties. Network analysis was done across four hierarchical levels: (1) global, (2) tier (nodes grouped into four tiers based on degree) and rich club (between-hub connections), (3) nodal, and (4) connection.

RESULTS: In UKB, reductions in network efficiency were observed in MDD cases globally ( d = -0.076, pFDR = 0.033), across all tiers ( d = -0.069 to -0.079, pFDR = 0.020), and in hubs ( d = -0.080 to -0.113, pFDR = 0.013-0.035). No differences in rich club organization and region-to-region connections were identified. The effect sizes and direction for these associations were generally consistent in GS, albeit not significant in our lower-N replication sample.

CONCLUSION: Our results suggest that the brain's fundamental rich club structure is similar in MDD cases and controls, but subtle topological differences exist across the brain. Consistent with recent large-scale neuroimaging findings, our findings offer a connectomic perspective on a similar scale and support the idea that minimal differences exist between MDD cases and controls.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalPsychological Medicine
Early online date18 Mar 2024
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Mar 2024

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'A comprehensive hierarchical comparison of structural connectomes in Major Depressive Disorder cases v. controls in two large population samples.'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this