Dysconnectivity of a brain functional network was associated with blood inflammatory markers in depression.

Brain, Behavior, and Immunity
Athina R AruldassEdward T Bullmore


There is increasing evidence for a subgroup of major depressive disorder (MDD) associated with heightened peripheral blood inflammatory markers. In this study, we aimed to understand the mechanistic brain-immune axis in inflammation-linked depression by investigating associations between functional connectivity (FC) of brain networks and peripheral blood immune markers in depression. Resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and peripheral blood inflammatory markers (C-reactive protein; CRP, interleukin-6; IL-6 and immune cells) were collected on N = 46 healthy controls (HC; CRP ≤ 3 mg/L) and N = 83 cases of depression, stratified further into low CRP cases (loCRP cases; ≤ 3 mg/L; N = 50) and high CRP cases (hiCRP cases; > 3 mg/L; N = 33). In a two-part analysis, network-based statistics (NBS) was firstly used to ascertain whole-brain FC differences in HC vs hiCRP cases. Secondly, we investigated the association between this network of interconnected brain regions and continuous measures of peripheral CRP (N = 83), IL-6 (N = 72), neutrophils and CD4+ T-cells (N = 36) in depression cases only. Case-control NBS testing revealed a single network of abnormally attenuated FC in the high CRP depression cases compared...Continue Reading


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