Intrinsic disruption of white matter microarchitecture in first-episode, drug-naive major depressive disorder: A voxel-based meta-analysis of diffusion tensor imaging

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Previous studies have demonstrated the influences of episodes and antidepressant drugs on white matter (WM) in patients with major depressive disorder (MDD). However, most diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) studies included highly heterogeneous individuals with different numbers of depressive episodes or medication status. To exclude the confounding effects of multiple episodes or medication, we conducted a quantitative voxel-based meta-analysis of fractional anisotropy (FA) in patients with first-episode, drug-naive MDD to identify the intrinsic WM alterations involved in the pathogenesis of MDD. The pooled meta-analysis revealed significant FA reductions in the body of the corpus callosum (CC), bilateral anterior limb of the internal capsule (ALIC), right inferior temporal gyrus (ITG) and right superior frontal gyrus (SFG) in MDD patients relative to healthy controls. Meta-regression analyses revealed that FA reduction in the right ALIC and right SFG was negatively correlated with symptom severity and duration of depression, respectively. Our findings provide robust evidence that the WM impairments in the interhemispheric connections and frontal-subcortical neuronal circuits may play an important role in MDD pathogenesis.

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