Reduced frontal-subcortical white matter connectivity in association with suicidal ideation in major depressive disorder

W. Myung, C. E. Han, M. Fava, D. Mischoulon, G. I. Papakostas, J. Y. Heo, K. W. Kim, S. T. Kim, D. J.H. Kim, D. K. Kim, S. W. Seo, J. K. Seong, H. J. Jeon

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74 Citations (Scopus)


Major depressive disorder (MDD) and suicidal behavior have been associated with structural and functional changes in the brain. However, little is known regarding alterations of brain networks in MDD patients with suicidal ideation. We investigated whether or not MDD patients with suicidal ideation have different topological organizations of white matter networks compared with MDD patients without suicidal ideation. Participants consisted of 24 patients with MDD and suicidal ideation, 25 age-and gender-matched MDD patients without suicidal ideation and 31 healthy subjects. A network-based statistics (NBS) and a graph theoretical analysis were performed to assess differences in the inter-regional connectivity. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) was performed to assess topological changes according to suicidal ideation in MDD patients. The Scale for Suicide Ideation (SSI) and the Korean version of the Barrett Impulsiveness Scale (BIS) were used to assess the severity of suicidal ideation and impulsivity, respectively. Reduced structural connectivity in a characterized subnetwork was found in patients with MDD and suicidal ideation by utilizing NBS analysis. The subnetwork included the regions of the frontosubcortical circuits and the regions involved in executive function in the left hemisphere (rostral middle frontal, pallidum, superior parietal, frontal pole, caudate, putamen and thalamus). The graph theoretical analysis demonstrated that network measures of the left rostral middle frontal had a significant positive correlation with severity of SSI (r=0.59, P=0.02) and BIS (r=0.59, P=0.01). The total edge strength that was significantly associated with suicidal ideation did not differ between MDD patients without suicidal ideation and healthy subjects. Our findings suggest that the reduced frontosubcortical circuit of structural connectivity, which includes regions associated with executive function and impulsivity, appears to have a role in the emergence of suicidal ideation in MDD patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere835
JournalTranslational psychiatry
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jun 7

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MSIP-2011-0013064 to HJJ, MSIP-2010-0028631, MSIP-2013-004157, MSIP-2014-R1A1A1008173 to CEH).

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Biological Psychiatry


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