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Mental Health - Neurological Disorders - Neuroscience - Radiology and Medical Imaging

Altered Cerebellar Functional Connectivity with Intrinsic Connectivity Networks in Adults with Major Depressive Disorder
Published: Monday, June 18, 2012
Author: Li Liu et al.

by Li Liu, Ling-Li Zeng, Yaming Li, Qiongmin Ma, Baojuan Li, Hui Shen, Dewen Hu


Numerous studies have demonstrated the higher-order functions of the cerebellum, including emotion regulation and cognitive processing, and have indicated that the cerebellum should therefore be included in the pathophysiological models of major depressive disorder. The aim of this study was to compare the resting-state functional connectivity of the cerebellum in adults with major depression and healthy controls.


Twenty adults with major depression and 20 gender-, age-, and education-matched controls were investigated using seed-based resting-state functional connectivity magnetic resonance imaging.


Compared with the controls, depressed patients showed significantly increased functional connectivity between the cerebellum and the temporal poles. However, significantly reduced cerebellar functional connectivity was observed in the patient group in relation to both the default-mode network, mainly including the ventromedial prefrontal cortex and the posterior cingulate cortex/precuneus, and the executive control network, mainly including the superior frontal cortex and orbitofrontal cortex. Moreover, the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale score was negatively correlated with the functional connectivity between the bilateral Lobule VIIb and the right superior frontal gyrus in depressed patients.


This study demonstrated increased cerebellar coupling with the temporal poles and reduced coupling with the regions in the default-mode and executive control networks in adults with major depression. These differences between patients and controls could be associated with the emotional disturbances and cognitive control function deficits that accompany major depression. Aberrant cerebellar connectivity during major depression may also imply a substantial role for the cerebellum in the pathophysiological models of depression.