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Abnormal functional connectivity of the posterior cingulate cortex is associated with depressive symptoms in patients with Alzheimer’s disease

Authors Zhang J, Guo Z, Liu X, Jia X, Li J, Li Y, Lv D, Chen W

Received 11 July 2017

Accepted for publication 18 September 2017

Published 11 October 2017 Volume 2017:13 Pages 2589—2598

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/NDT.S146077

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Colin Mak

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Wai Kwong Tang

Video abstract presented by Jiangtao Zhang.

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Jiangtao Zhang,1,2 Zhongwei Guo,2 Xiaozheng Liu,3 Xize Jia,4 Jiapeng Li,2 Yaoyao Li,1,5 Danmei Lv,1,5 Wei Chen1,5

1Department of Psychiatry, Sir Run Run Shaw Hospital, Zhejiang University School of Medicine and the Collaborative Innovation Center for Brain Science, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China; 2Tongde Hospital of Zhejiang Province, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China; 3China-USA Neuroimaging Research Institute & Department of Radiology, the Second Affiliated Hospital, Wenzhou Medical University, Wenzhou, China; 4Center for Cognitive Brain Disorders & Zhejiang Key Laboratory for Research in Assessment of Cognitive Impairments, Hangzhou Normal University, Hangzhou, China; 5Key Laboratory of Medical Neurobiology of Chinese Ministry of Health, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China


Background: Depressive symptoms are significant and very common psychiatric complications in patients with Alzheimer’s disease (AD), which can aggravate the decline in social function. However, changes in the functional connectivity (FC) of the brain in AD patients with depressive symptoms (D-AD) remain unclear.
Objective: To investigate whether any differences exist in the FC of the posterior cingulate cortex (PCC) between D-AD patients and non-depressed AD patients (nD-AD).
Materials and methods: We recruited 15 D-AD patients and 17 age-, sex-, educational level-, and Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE)-matched nD-AD patients to undergo tests using the Neuropsychiatric Inventory, Hamilton Depression Rating Scale, and 3.0T resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging. Bilateral PCC were selected as the regions of interest and between-group differences in the PCC FC network were assessed using Student’s t-test.
Results: Compared with the nD-AD group, D-AD patients showed increased PCC FC in the right amygdala, right parahippocampus, right superior temporal pole, right middle temporal lobe, right middle temporal pole, and right hippocampus (AlphaSim correction; P<0.05). In the nD-AD group, MMSE scores were positively correlated with PCC FC in the right superior temporal pole and right hippocampus (false discovery rate corrected; P<0.05).
Conclusion: Differences were detected in PCC FC between nD-AD and D-AD patients, which may be related to depressive symptoms. Our study provides a significant enhancement to our understanding of the functional mechanisms underlying D-AD.

Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease, depressive symptoms, resting-state functional MRI, PCC

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