Katie L. Bessette 1 , Lisanne M. Jenkins 1 , 2 , Kristy A. Skerrett 2 , Jennifer R. Gowins 2 , Sophie R. DelDonno 1 , Jon-Kar Zubieta 3 , Melvin G. McInnis 4 , Rachel H. Jacobs 1 , 2 , Olusola Ajilore 1 , Scott A. Langenecker 1 , *
08 June 2018
There is substantial variability across studies of default mode network (DMN) connectivity in major depressive disorder, and reliability and time-invariance are not reported. This study evaluates whether DMN dysconnectivity in remitted depression (rMDD) is reliable over time and symptom-independent, and explores convergent relationships with cognitive features of depression. A longitudinal study was conducted with 82 young adults free of psychotropic medications (47 rMDD, 35 healthy controls) who completed clinical structured interviews, neuropsychological assessments, and 2 resting-state fMRI scans across 2 study sites. Functional connectivity analyses from bilateral posterior cingulate and anterior hippocampal formation seeds in DMN were conducted at both time points within a repeated-measures analysis of variance to compare groups and evaluate reliability of group-level connectivity findings. Eleven hyper- (from posterior cingulate) and 6 hypo- (from hippocampal formation) connectivity clusters in rMDD were obtained with moderate to adequate reliability in all but one cluster (ICC's range = 0.50 to 0.76 for 16 of 17). The significant clusters were reduced with a principle component analysis (5 components obtained) to explore these connectivity components, and were then correlated with cognitive features (rumination, cognitive control, learning and memory, and explicit emotion identification). At the exploratory level, for convergent validity, components consisting of posterior cingulate with cognitive control network hyperconnectivity in rMDD were related to cognitive control (inverse) and rumination (positive). Components consisting of anterior hippocampal formation with social emotional network and DMN hypoconnectivity were related to memory (inverse) and happy emotion identification (positive). Thus, time-invariant DMN connectivity differences exist early in the lifespan course of depression and are reliable. The nuanced results suggest a ventral within-network hypoconnectivity associated with poor memory and a dorsal cross-network hyperconnectivity linked to poorer cognitive control and elevated rumination. Study of early course remitted depression with attention to reliability and symptom independence could lead to more readily translatable clinical assessment tools for biomarkers.