Altered brain network modules induce helplessness in major depressive disorder

Daihui Peng, Feng Shi, Ting Shen, Ziwen Peng, Chen Zhang, Xiaohua Liu, Meihui Qiu, Jun Liu, Kaida Jiang, Yiru Fang, Dinggang Shen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)


Objective The abnormal brain functional connectivity (FC) has been assumed to be a pathophysiological aspect of major depressive disorder (MDD). However, it is poorly understood, regarding the underlying patterns of global FC network and their relationships with the clinical characteristics of MDD. Methods Resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging data were acquired from 16 first episode, medication-naïve MDD patients and 16 healthy control subjects. The global FC network was constructed using 90 brain regions. The global topological patterns, e.g., small-worldness and modularity, and their relationships with depressive characteristics were investigated. Furthermore, the participant coefficient and module degree of MDD patients were measured to reflect the regional roles in module network, and the impairment of FC was examined by network based statistic. Results Small-world property was not altered in MDD. However, MDD patients exhibited 5 atypically reorganized modules compared to the controls. A positive relationship was also found among MDD patients between the intra-module I and helplessness factor evaluated via the Hamilton Depression Scale. Specifically, eight regions exhibited the abnormal participant coefficient or module degree, e.g., left superior orbital frontal cortex and right amygdala. The decreased FC was identified among the sub-network of 24 brain regions, e.g., frontal cortex, supplementary motor area, amygdala, thalamus, and hippocampus. Limitation The limited size of MDD samples precluded meaningful study of distinct clinical characteristics in relation to aberrant FC. Conclusions The results revealed altered patterns of brain module network at the global level in MDD patients, which might contribute to the feelings of helplessness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-29
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Oct 15


  • Functional connectivity
  • Helplessness
  • Major depressive disorder
  • Modularity
  • Small-worldness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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