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Altered spontaneous neural activity in first-episode, unmedicated patients with major depressive disorder

Shen, Tinga,*; Qiu, Meihuia,*; Li, Chaoa; Zhang, Jiea; Wu, Zhiguoa; Wang, Biaoa; Jiang, Kaidab; Peng, Daihuia

doi: 10.1097/WNR.0000000000000263
Clinical Neuroscience

Abnormal brain function is presumed to be a pathophysiological aspect of major depressive disorder (MDD). However, the underlying patterns of spontaneous neural activity have been poorly characterized and replicated to date. In this study, we applied a novel approach of fractional amplitude of low-frequency fluctuation (fALFF) to investigate the alteration of spontaneous neural activity in MDD. Sixteen first-episode, unmedicated patients with MDD and 16 healthy controls were recruited and subjected to resting-state fMRI scans to measure the fALFF across the whole brain. Compared with healthy controls, MDD patients exhibited decreased fALFF in the right angular gyrus, left middle temporal gyrus, left superior temporal gyrus, right putamen, right precuneus, and the right superior temporal gyrus. Differences in fALFF between MDD patients and controls indicated that altered spontaneous neural activity was distributed across a number of specific brain regions among MDD patients. These atypical functional regions may help explain some of the neural processes underlying the clinical symptoms accompanying MDD.

aDivision of Mood Disorders, Shanghai Mental Health Center, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine

bHuashan Hospital, Fudan University, Shanghai, China

* Ting Shen and Meihui Qiu are joint first authors.

Correspondence to Daihui Peng, MD, Division of Mood Disorders, Shanghai Mental Health Center, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, Shanghai 200030, China Tel: +86 21 64387250 x73529; fax: +86 2164387986; e-mail:

Received April 22, 2014

Accepted August 21, 2014

© 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins