Background The hopelessness theory of depression posits that individuals with negative cognitive styles are at risk of developing depression following negative life events. The purpose of this work was to examine whether individuals with cognitive vulnerability to depression (CVD) exhibit similar spontaneous brain activity patterns as compared to patients with major depressive disorder (MDD). Methods Subjects with CVD (N=32), drug-naïve first-episode patients with major depressive disorder (N=32), and sex-, age- and education-matched healthy controls (HCs; N=35) were subjected to resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging (RS-fMRI) and amplitudes of low-frequency fluctuation (ALFF) was compared between the groups. Pearson correlation analysis was performed between regional ALFFs and psychometric scores, namely the Cognitive Style Questionnaire (CSQ) and the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression (CES-D) scale scores. Results Significant group differences in ALFF values were observed bilaterally in the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) and insular cortex (IC), and in the left fusiform gyrus (FFG). Compared to HCs, CVD subjects had reduced ALFFs in the bilateral OFC and increased ALFF in the bilateral IC and the left FFG, which were similar to the differences observed between the HCs and MDD patients. Compared to MDD patients, CVD subjects showed significant reduced ALFF values in right IC. Additionally, CSQ scores for the CVD group correlated with ALFF values in the left IC. Limitations We did not conduct a longitudinal study. Our findings were limited in cross-sectional analysis. Conclusions A hypoactive OFC and hyperactive IC in a resting-state may underlie an imbalance in the spontaneous brain activity in orbitofrontal-insular circuits, and these differences may represent a trait-related marker of vulnerability to depression.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Clinical Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health