Late-Life Depression and Microstructural Abnormalities in Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex White Matter

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Abstract

Objective

The purpose of this study was to determine whether microstructural abnormalities in the white matter of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex are associated with late-life depression.

Method

Seventeen elderly depressed subjects were compared with 16 elderly subjects who were not depressed. Diffusion tensor imaging was used to measure the fractional anisotropy of the white matter in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex's superior and middle frontal gyri bilaterally and in the left occipital lobe as a control region. The authors compared results between groups while controlling for age, sex, and comorbid medical disorders.

Results

Even after controlling for age, sex, hypertension, and heart disease, the authors found significantly lower fractional anisotropy values in the right superior frontal gyrus white matter of depressed patients than comparison subjects.

Conclusions

Microstructural changes in the white matter of the right superior frontal gyrus are associated with late-life depression. Further work is needed to determine how these changes contribute to depression outcomes.

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