Previous studies have demonstrated altered resting state functional connectivity (rsFC) in patients with post-stroke depression (PSD). It remains unclear whether rsFC is changed at the network level as was shown for major depressive disorder (MDD). To address this question, we investigated rsFC of resting sate networks (RSNs) in PSD.
Eleven subjects with PSD underwent fMRI scanning at rest before and after treatment. The severity of depression was assessed using the aphasic depression rating scale (ADRS). We performed functional network connectivity (FNC) analysis for RSNs, region of interest - FC analysis (ROI-FC) and calculation of brain matter volumes in ROIs overlapping with RSNs and in other brain regions associated with mood maintenance.
We found positive correlation of FNC between anterior default mode network (aDMN) and salience network (SAL) with depression severity before treatment, the latter accompanied by the increase of white matter in the middle frontal and left angular gyri. FNC of aDMN and left frontoparietal network (LFP) decreased after treatment. ROI-FC and the brain matter volumes of several regions of DMN, LFP and SAL also showed a correlation with ADRS or significant change after treatment.
Limitations include small sample size and methodological issues concerning altered hemodynamics in stroke. However, we took complex preprocessing steps to overcome these issues.
Present results of altered rsFC in PSD are consistent with previous findings in MDD. The convergence of results obtained in PSD and MDD supports the validity of rsFC approach for investigation of brain network dysfunctions underling these psychiatric symptoms.