Deakin University

File(s) under permanent embargo

White matter microstructure in boys with persistent depressive disorder

journal contribution
posted on 2017-10-15, 00:00 authored by Veronika Vilgis, Alasdair Vance, Ross Cunnington, Tim SilkTim Silk
BACKGROUND: Persistent depressive symptoms in children and adolescents are considered a risk factor for the development of major depressive disorder (MDD) later in life. Previous research has shown alterations in white matter microstructure in pediatric MDD but discrepancies exist as to the specific tracts affected. The current study aimed to improve upon previous methodology and address the question whether previous findings of lower fractional anisotropy (FA) replicate in a sample of children with persistent depressive disorder characterized by mild but more chronic symptoms of depression. METHODS: White matter microstructure was examined in 25 boys with persistent depressive disorder and 25 typically developing children. Tract specific analysis implemented with the Diffusion Tensor Imaging - ToolKit (DTI-TK) was used to probe fractional anisotropy (FA) in eleven major white matter tracts. RESULTS: Clusters within the left uncinate, inferior fronto-occipital and cerebrospinal tracts showed lower FA in the clinical group. FA in the left uncinate showed a negative association with self-reported symptoms of depression. CONCLUSIONS: The results demonstrate lower FA in several white matter tracts in children with persistent depressive disorder. These findings support the contention that early onset depression is associated with altered white matter microstructure, which may contribute to the maintenance and recurrence of symptoms.



Journal of affective disorders




11 - 16




Amsterdam, The Netherlands





Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2017, Elsevier