Alterations in functional brain networks in depressed patients with a suicide attempt history

Je Young Jung, Sunyoung Choi, Kyu Man Han, Aram Kim, Wooyoung Kang, Jong Woo Paik, Hae Woo Lee, Byung Joo Ham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Suicide is a major challenge in public health and is strongly associated with major depressive disorder (MDD). Despite recent neuroimaging developments, the neural correlates of suicide behavior in patients with MDD remain unclear. Independent component analysis (ICA) for neuroimaging data allows the identification of functional brain networks without prior regions of interest and may help to identify neurobiological markers of specific disorders. Using ICA, we investigated the differences in resting-state brain networks in patients with MDD who had or did not have a history of suicide attempts and in healthy controls (HCs). Suicidal depressed (SD) patients, non-suicidal depressed (NSD) patients, and HCs significantly differed from each other in the pattern of connectivity of multiple functional networks, network synchronization, and functional network connectivity (FNC). The patient groups had a decreased network synchronization in the insular, cerebellum, basal ganglia, thalamus, operculum, frontoparietal cortices, and sensory cortices relative to the HCs. The decreased FNC between these networks (insular–default mode network and insular–cerebellum) was found in the SD group compared to the NSD and HC groups. These differences were not related to illness duration and medication status differences between SD and NSD. Furthermore, the degree of FNC in these networks was associated with the suicide ideation and stress level. Our results demonstrated that widespread but discrete network changes in brain networks and their interconnectivity was associated with suicide attempts in patients with MDD. Our results suggest that the neural basis underlying the psychopathology of attempted suicide in patients with MDD involves multiple brain networks and their interaction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)964-974
Number of pages11
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2020 May 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the University of Nottingham’s research fellowship programme to JJ, the Research Fund (14-BR-SS-03) of Civil-Military Technology Cooperation Program, the Civil-Military Dual-Use Technology Deveploment Program (14-BR-SS-03) throught the Agency for Defense Development, and the Bio & Medical Technology Development Program of the National Research Foundation (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT & Future Planning (NRF-2016M3A9A7916996; NRF-2017R1A2B4002090) to B-JH. The authors declare no competing interests.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to American College of Neuropsychopharmacology.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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