The present study investigated functional connectivity and white matter integrity of the fronto-parietal network (FPN) to reveal the neural mechanisms that underlie late-life depression (LLD). Fifty patients with LLD and 40 non-depressed controls were included in the study. A multi-parametric approach was used by applying independent component analysis (ICA) to estimate functional connectivity of the FPN and by applying tract-based spatial statistics to examine white-matter integrity in tracts to the FPN. Patients with LLD exhibited functional abnormalities in the right inferior frontal gyrus, middle frontal gyrus, and inferior parietal gyrus and lower white matter fractional anisotropy in the right inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus, anterior thalamic radiation, and uncinate fasciculus. Alterations of functional connectivity and white matter fractional anisotropy in these regions were negatively correlated with the severity of symptomatic anxiety in LLD patients. The right inferior frontal gyrus might be a crucial hub in transferring information between these abnormal regions. Significant correlations were found between anxiety symptoms and brain alterations, suggesting that impairments in the FPN network might be involved in symptomatic anxiety in elderly individuals with depression.
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