Regional Brain Volume in Depression and Anxiety Disorders

Marie-Jose van Tol*, Nic J. A. van der Wee, Odile A. van den Heuvel, Marjan M. A. Nielen, Liliana R. Demenescu, Andre Aleman, Remco Renken, Mark A. van Buchem, Frans G. Zitman, Dick J. Veltman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

251 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Context: Major depressive disorder (MDD), panic disorder, and social anxiety disorder are among the most prevalent and frequently co-occurring psychiatric disorders in adults and may have, at least in part, a common etiology.

Objective: To identify the unique and shared neuro-anatomical profile of depression and anxiety, controlling for illness severity, medication use, sex, age of onset, and recurrence.

Design: Cross-sectional study.

Setting: Netherlands Study of Depression and Anxiety.

Participants: Outpatients with MDD (n=68), comorbid MDD and anxiety (n=88), panic disorder, and/or social anxiety disorder without comorbid MDD (n=68) and healthy controls (n=65).

Main Outcome Measures: Volumetric magnetic resonance imaging was conducted for voxel-based morphometry analyses. We tested voxelwise for the effects of diagnosis, age at onset, and recurrence on gray matter density. Post hoc, we studied the effects of use of medication, illness severity, and sex.

Results: We demonstrated lower gray matter volumes of the rostral anterior cingulate gyrus extending into the dorsal anterior cingulate gyrus in MDD, comorbid MDD and anxiety, and anxiety disorders without comorbid MDD, independent of illness severity, sex, and medication use. Furthermore, we demonstrated reduced right lateral inferior frontal volumes in MDD and reduced left middle/superior temporal volume in anxiety disorders without comorbid MDD. Also, patients with onset of depression before 18 years of age showed lower volumes of the subgenual prefrontal cortex.

Conclusions: Our findings indicate that reduced volume of the rostral-dorsal anterior cingulate gyrus is a generic effect in depression and anxiety disorders, independent of illness severity, medication use, and sex. This generic effect supports the notion of a shared etiology and may reflect a common symptom dimension related to altered emotion processing. Specific involvement of the inferior frontal cortex in MDD and lateral temporal cortex in anxiety disorders without comorbid MDD, on the other hand, may reflect disorder-specific symptom clusters. Early onset of depression is associated with a distinct neuroanatomical profile that may represent a vulnerability marker of depressive disorder. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2010;67(10):1002-1011

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1002-1011
Number of pages10
JournalArchives of General Psychiatry
Volume67
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct-2010

Keywords

  • VOXEL-BASED MORPHOMETRY
  • ANTERIOR CINGULATE CORTEX
  • SUBGENUAL PREFRONTAL CORTEX
  • NATIONAL COMORBIDITY SURVEY
  • SEROTONIN TRANSPORTER GENE
  • RECURRENT MAJOR DEPRESSION
  • REDUCED HIPPOCAMPAL VOLUME
  • MODE NETWORK ACTIVITY
  • TEMPORAL-LOBE VOLUME
  • PANIC DISORDER

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