Resting state functional connectivity and treatment response in late-life depression

Carmen Andreescu, Dana L. Tudorascu, Meryl A. Butters, Erica Tamburo, Meenal Patel, Julie Price, Jordan F. Karp, Charles F. Reynolds, Howard Aizenstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

103 Scopus citations


Indices of functional connectivity in the default mode network (DMN) are promising neural markers of treatment response in late-life depression. We examined the differences in DMN functional connectivity between treatment-responsive and treatment-resistant depressed older adults. Forty-seven depressed older adults underwent MRI scanning pre- and post-pharmacotherapy. Forty-six never depressed older adults underwent MR scanning as comparison subjects. Treatment response was defined as achieving a Hamilton Depression Rating Scale of 10 or less post-treatment. We analyzed resting state functional connectivity using the posterior cingulate cortex as the seed region-of-interest. The resulting correlation maps were employed to investigate between-group differences. Additionally we examined the association between white matter hyperintensity burden and functional connectivity results. Comparison of pre- and post-treatment scans of depressed participants revealed greater post-treatment functional connectivity in the frontal precentral gyrus. Relative to treatment-responsive participants, treatment-resistant participants had increased functional connectivity in the left striatum. When adjusting for white matter hyperintensity burden, the observed differences lost significance for the PCC-prefrontal functional connectivity, but not for the PCC-striatum functional connectivity. The post-treatment "frontalization" of the DMN connectivity suggests a normalizing effect of antidepressant treatment. Moreover, our study confirms the central role of white matter lesions in disrupting brain functional connectivity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)313-321
Number of pages9
JournalPsychiatry Research - Neuroimaging
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 30 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Default Mode Network
  • Late-life depression
  • MRI
  • Treatment response
  • White matter hyperintensity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Cite this