Publication details

Developmental origins of depression-related white matter properties: Findings from a prenatal birth cohort

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Year of publication 2019
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Human Brain mapping
MU Faculty or unit

Central European Institute of Technology

Keywords adolescence; cohort studies; depression; diffusion tensor imaging; life stress; prenatal development; white matter
Description Depression is the leading cause of years lost due to disability worldwide. Still, the mechanisms underlying its development are not well understood. This study aimed to evaluate white-matter properties associated with depressive symptomatology in young adulthood and their developmental origins. Diffusion tensor imaging and assessment of depressive symptomatology were conducted in 128 young adults (47% male, age 23-24) from a prenatal birth cohort (European Longitudinal Study of Pregnancy and Childhood). For a subset of these individuals, the database included information on prenatal stress (n = 93) and depressive symptoms during adolescence (assessed repeatedly at age 15 and 19). Depressive symptoms in young adulthood were associated with lower fractional anisotropy in the left and right cingulum and higher fractional anisotropy in the right corticospinal tract and superior longitudinal fasciculus. Further analyses revealed that prenatal stress and depressive symptomatology during adolescence were independent predictors of altered white-matter properties in the cingulum in young adulthood. We conclude that typically developing young adults with more depressive symptoms already exhibit tract-specific alterations in white-matter properties and that prenatal stress and depressive symptomatology during adolescence might contribute to their development.
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