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Neuroticism, depressive symptoms and white-matter integrity in the Lothian Birth Cohort 1936

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  11 July 2012

A. M. McIntosh*
Affiliation:
Division of Psychiatry, University of Edinburgh, UK Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology, University of Edinburgh, UK SINAPSE (Scottish Imaging Network, A Platform for Scientific Excellence) collaboration
M. E. Bastin
Affiliation:
Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology, University of Edinburgh, UK SINAPSE (Scottish Imaging Network, A Platform for Scientific Excellence) collaboration Division of Health Sciences (Medical Physics), University of Edinburgh, UK Brain Research Imaging Centre, Division of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Edinburgh, UK
M. Luciano
Affiliation:
Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology, University of Edinburgh, UK Department of Psychology, University of Edinburgh, UK
S. Muñoz Maniega
Affiliation:
Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology, University of Edinburgh, UK SINAPSE (Scottish Imaging Network, A Platform for Scientific Excellence) collaboration Brain Research Imaging Centre, Division of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Edinburgh, UK
M. del C.Valdés Hernández
Affiliation:
Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology, University of Edinburgh, UK SINAPSE (Scottish Imaging Network, A Platform for Scientific Excellence) collaboration Brain Research Imaging Centre, Division of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Edinburgh, UK
N. A. Royle
Affiliation:
Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology, University of Edinburgh, UK SINAPSE (Scottish Imaging Network, A Platform for Scientific Excellence) collaboration Brain Research Imaging Centre, Division of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Edinburgh, UK
J. Hall
Affiliation:
Division of Psychiatry, University of Edinburgh, UK SINAPSE (Scottish Imaging Network, A Platform for Scientific Excellence) collaboration
C. Murray
Affiliation:
Department of Psychology, University of Edinburgh, UK
S. M. Lawrie
Affiliation:
Division of Psychiatry, University of Edinburgh, UK SINAPSE (Scottish Imaging Network, A Platform for Scientific Excellence) collaboration
J. M. Starr
Affiliation:
Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology, University of Edinburgh, UK Geriatric Medicine Unit, University of Edinburgh, UK
J. M. Wardlaw
Affiliation:
Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology, University of Edinburgh, UK SINAPSE (Scottish Imaging Network, A Platform for Scientific Excellence) collaboration Brain Research Imaging Centre, Division of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Edinburgh, UK
I. J. Deary
Affiliation:
Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology, University of Edinburgh, UK Department of Psychology, University of Edinburgh, UK
*
*Address for correspondence: Professor A. M. McIntosh, Division of Psychiatry, University of Edinburgh, Kennedy Tower, Royal Edinburgh Hospital, Edinburgh EH10 5HF, UK. (Email: andrew.mcintosh@ed.ac.uk)

Abstract

Background

Clinical depression is associated with reductions in white-matter integrity in several long tracts of the brain. The extent to which these findings are localized or related to depressive symptoms or personality traits linked to disease risk remains unclear.

Method

Members of the Lothian Birth Cohort 1936 (LBC936) were assessed in two waves at mean ages of 70 and 73 years. At wave 1, they underwent assessments of depressive symptoms and the personality traits of neuroticism and extraversion. Brain diffusion magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data were obtained at the second wave and mood assessments were repeated. We tested whether depressive symptoms were related to reduced white-matter tract fractional anisotropy (FA), a measure of integrity, and then examined whether high neuroticism or low extraversion mediated this relationship.

Results

Six hundred and sixty-eight participants provided useable data. Bilateral uncinate fasciculus FA was significantly negatively associated with depressive symptoms at both waves (standardized β=0.12–0.16). Higher neuroticism and lower extraversion were also significantly associated with lower uncinate FA bilaterally (standardized β=0.09–0.15) and significantly mediated the relationship between FA and depressive symptoms.

Conclusions

Trait liability to depression and depressive symptoms are associated with reduced structural connectivity in tracts connecting the prefrontal cortex with the amygdala and anterior temporal cortex. These effects suggest that frontotemporal disconnection is linked to the etiology of depression, in part through personality trait differences.

Type
Original Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2012 

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