Stroke survivors are known to suffer from post-stroke depression (PSD). However, the likelihood of structural changes in the brains of PSD patients has not been explored. This study aims to extract changes in the gray matter of these patients and test how these changes account for the PSD symptoms. High-resolution T1 weighted images were collected from 23 PSD patients diagnosed with subcortical stroke. Voxel-based morphometry and support vector machine analyses were used to analyze the data. The results were compared with those collected from 33 non-PSD patients. PSD group showed decreased gray matter volume (GMV) in the left middle frontal gyrus (MFG) when compared to the non-PSD patients. Together with the clinical and demographic variables, the MFG’s GMV predictive model was able to distinguish PSD from the non-PSD patients (0•70 sensitivity and 0•88 specificity). The changes in the left inferior frontal gyrus (61%) and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (39%) suggest that the somatic/affective symptoms in PSD is likely to be due to patients’ problems with understanding and appraising negative emotional stimuli. The impact brought by the reduced prefrontal to limbic system connectivity needs further exploration. These findings indicate possible systemic involvement of the frontolimbic network resulting in PSD after brain lesions which is likely to be independent from the location of the lesion. The results inform specific clinical interventions to be provided for treating depressive symptoms in post-stroke patients.Copyright © 2020 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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