Default Mode Network Connectivity and Social Dysfunction in Major Depressive Disorder

Ilja M.J. Saris, Brenda W.J.H. Penninx, Richard Dinga, Marie Jose van Tol, Dick J. Veltman, Nic J.A. van der Wee, Moji Aghajani

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18 Citations (Scopus)


Though social functioning is often hampered in Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), we lack a complete and integrated understanding of the underlying neurobiology. Connectional disturbances in the brain’s Default Mode Network (DMN) might be an associated factor, as they could relate to suboptimal social processing. DMN connectional integrity, however, has not been explicitly studied in relation to social dysfunctioning in MDD patients. Applying Independent Component Analysis and Dual Regression on resting-state fMRI data, we explored DMN intrinsic functional connectivity in relation to social dysfunctioning (i.e. composite of loneliness, social disability, small social network) among 74 MDD patients (66.2% female, Mean age = 36.9, SD = 11.9). Categorical analyses examined whether DMN connectivity differs between high and low social dysfunctioning MDD groups, dimensional analyses studied linear associations between social dysfunction and DMN connectivity across MDD patients. Threshold-free cluster enhancement (TFCE) with family-wise error (FWE) correction was used for statistical thresholding and multiple comparisons correction (P < 0.05). The analyses cautiously linked greater social dysfunctioning among MDD patients to diminished DMN connectivity, specifically within the rostromedial prefrontal cortex and posterior superior frontal gyrus. These preliminary findings pinpoint DMN connectional alterations as potentially germane to social dysfunction in MDD, and may as such improve our understanding of the underlying neurobiology.

Original languageEnglish
Article number194
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020

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