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Geriatrics - Radiology and Medical Imaging

Altered Cerebellar-Cerebral Functional Connectivity in Geriatric Depression
Published: Thursday, May 26, 2011
Author: Emmanuel Alalade et al.

by Emmanuel Alalade, Kevin Denny, Guy Potter, David Steffens, Lihong Wang

Although volumetric and activation changes in the cerebellum have frequently been reported in studies on major depression, its role in the neural mechanism of depression remains unclear. To understand how the cerebellum may relate to affective and cognitive dysfunction in depression, we investigated the resting-state functional connectivity between cerebellar regions and the cerebral cortex in samples of patients with geriatric depression (n?=?11) and healthy controls (n?=?18). Seed-based connectivity analyses were conducted using seeds from cerebellum regions previously identified as being involved in the executive, default-mode, affective-limbic, and motor networks. The results revealed that, compared with controls, individuals with depression show reduced functional connectivity between several cerebellum seed regions, specifically those in the executive and affective-limbic networks with the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) and increased functional connectivity between the motor-related cerebellum seed regions with the putamen and motor cortex. We further investigated whether the altered functional connectivity in depressed patients was associated with cognitive function and severity of depression. A positive correlation was found between the Crus II–vmPFC connectivity and performance on the Hopkins Verbal Learning Test-Revised delayed memory recall. Additionally, the vermis–posterior cinglate cortex (PCC) connectivity was positively correlated with depression severity. Our results suggest that cerebellum–vmPFC coupling may be related to cognitive function whereas cerebellum–PCC coupling may be related to emotion processing in geriatric depression.