Journal of affective disorders 2017 11 07227() 280-288 pii S0165-0327(17)31509-4
Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a mental disorder characterized by cognitive and affective deficits. Previous studies suggested that insula is a crucial node of the salience network for initiating network switching, and dysfunctional connection to this region may be related to the mechanism of MDD. In this study, we systematically investigated and quantified the altered functional connectivity (FC) of the specific insular subdivisions and its relationship to psychopathology of MDD.
Resting-state FC of insular subdivisions, including bilateral ventral/dorsal anterior insula and posterior insula, were estimated in 19 MDD patients and 19 healthy controls. Abnormal FC was quantified between groups. Additionally, we investigated the relationships between insular connectivity and depressive symptom severity.
MDD patients demonstrated aberrant FC for insular subdivisions to superior temporal sulcus, inferior prefrontal gyrus, amygdala and posterior parietal cortex. Moreover, depression symptoms (Hamilton Depression Rating Scale and Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale scorers) were associated with the FC values of insular subdivisions.
First, the sample size of our current study is relatively small, which may affect the statistic power. Second, using standardized insular subdivision seeds for FC analyses may neglect subtle natural differences in size and location of functional area across individuals and may thus affect connectivity maps.
Abnormal FC of insular subdivisions to default network and central executive network may represent impaired intrinsic networks switching which may affect the underlying emotional and sensory disturbances in MDD. And our findings can help to understand the pathophysiology and underlying neural mechanisms of MDD.