Abnormal Integrity of Long Association Fiber Tracts Is Associated With Cognitive Deficits in Patients With Remitted Geriatric Depression: A Cross-Sectional, Case-Control Study

Objective: The aim of this study was to explore the integrity of association fiber tracts of the interhemispheric and within-hemispheric communication in patients with remitted geriatric depression (RGD) by diffusion tensor imaging.

Method: A region of interest–based diffusion tensor imaging approach was applied to explore fiber tract differences between 37 patients with DSM-IV–diagnosed RGD and 33 well-matched, normal, aging healthy controls. Correlations were also sought between fractional anisotropy values and cognitive performance scores in the patients with RGD. The patients were recruited from January 2007 to December 2007.

Results: Extensive impairment of the integrity of association fiber tracts was observed in patients with RGD, including in the bilateral inferior fronto-occipital fascicles, genu of corpus callosum, and posterior cingulate bundles. In addition, the fractional anisotropy value of left posterior cingulate bundles displayed a significantly negative correlation with the performance (time) of Trail-Making Test A (r = −0.383, P = .019).

Conclusions: This study suggested that association fiber tracts between remote cortexes may yield important new clues to predict whether a patient will eventually develop Alzheimer’s disease.

J Clin Psychiatry

Submitted: April 27, 2009; accepted September 8, 2009.

Online ahead of print: June 1, 2010 (doi:10.4088/JCP.09m05313gry).

Corresponding author: Zhijun Zhang, MD, PhD, School of Clinical Medicine, Southeast University, Nanjing 210009, China (zhijunzhang838@yahoo.com.cn).

J Clin Psychiatry 2010;71(10):1386-1390