Risk for affective disorders is associated with greater prefrontal gray matter volumes: A prospective longitudinal study

Julian Macoveanu, William Baaré, Kristoffer Hougaard Madsen, Lars Vedel Kessing, Hartwig Roman Siebner, Maj Vinberg

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Abstract

Background: Major depression and bipolar disorders aggregates in families and are linked with a wide range of neurobiological abnormalities including cortical gray matter (GM) alterations. Prospective studies of individuals at familial risk may expose the neural mechanisms underlying risk transmission. Methods: We used voxel based morphometry to investigate changes in regional GM brain volume, over a seven-year period, in 37 initially healthy individuals having a mono- or di-zygotic twin diagnosed with major depression or bipolar disorder (high-risk group; mean age 41.6 yrs.) as compared to 36 individuals with no history of affective disorders in the index twin and firstdegree relatives (low-risk group; mean age 38.5 yrs.). Results: Groups did not differ in regional GM volume changes over time. However, independent of time, high-risk twins had significantly greater GM volumes in bilateral dorsal anterior cingulate, inferior frontal gyrus and temporoparietal regions as compared to low-risk twins. Further, individuals who developed an affective disorder at follow-up (n=12), had relatively the largest GM volumes, both at baseline and follow-up, in the right dorsal anterior cingulate cortex and right inferior frontal cortex compared to high- and low-risk twins who remained well at follow-up. Conclusion: This pattern of apparently stable grater regional GM volume may constitute a neural marker of an increased risk for developing an affective disorder in individuals at familial risk.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNeuroImage: Clinical
Number of pages27
ISSN2213-1582
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Keywords

  • Affective disorders
  • Structural MRI
  • Anterior cingulate cortex
  • VBM

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