Depressive symptoms following traumatic brain injury are associated with resting-state functional connectivity.


BACKGROUND: To determine whether depressive symptoms in traumatic brain injury (TBI) patients were associated with altered resting-state functional connectivity (rs-fc) or voxel-based morphology in brain regions involved in emotional regulation and associated with depression. METHODS: In the present study, we examined 79 patients (57 males; age range = 17-70 years, M ± s.d. = 38 ± 16.13; BDI-II, M ± s.d. = 9.84 ± 8.67) with TBI. We used structural MRI and resting-state fMRI to examine whether there was a relationship between depression, as measured with the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI-II), and the voxel-based morphology or functional connectivity in regions previously identified as involved in emotional regulation in patients following TBI. Patients were at least 4 months post-TBI (M ± s.d. = 15.13 ± 11.67 months) and the severity of the injury included mild to severe cases [Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS), M ± s.d. = 6.87 ± 3.31]. RESULTS: Our results showed that BDI-II scores were unrelated to voxel-based morphology in the examined regions. We found a positive association between depression scores and rs-fc between limbic regions and cognitive control regions. Conversely, there was a negative association between depression scores and rs-fc between limbic and frontal regions involved in emotion regulation. CONCLUSION: These findings lead to a better understanding of the exact mechanisms that contribute to depression following TBI and better inform treatment decisions.