Neurobiological commonalities and distinctions among 3 major psychiatric disorders: a graph theoretical analysis of the structural connectome

Neurobiological commonalities and distinctions among 3 major psychiatric disorders: a graph theoretical analysis of the structural connectome

J Psychiatry Neurosci 2020;45(1):15-22 | PDF | Appendix

Shuai Wang, MD; Gaolang Gong, PhD; Suyu Zhong, PhD; Jia Duan, MD; Zhiyang Yin, MD; Miao Chang, PhD; Shengnan Wei, MD, PhD; Xiaowei Jiang, MD; Yifang Zhou, MD; Yanqing Tang, MD, PhD; Fei Wang, MD, PhD

Background: White matter network alterations have increasingly been implicated in major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. The aim of this study was to identify shared and distinct white matter network alterations among the 3 disorders.

Methods: We used analysis of covariance, with age and gender as covariates, to investigate white matter network alterations in 123 patients with schizophrenia, 123 with bipolar disorder, 124 with major depressive disorder and 209 healthy controls.

Results: We found significant group differences in global network efficiency (F = 3.386, p = 0.018), nodal efficiency (F = 8.015, p < 0.001 corrected for false discovery rate [FDR]) and nodal degree (F = 5.971, pFDR < 0.001) in the left middle occipital gyrus, as well as nodal efficiency (F = 6.930, pFDR < 0.001) and nodal degree (F = 5.884, pFDR < 0.001) in the left postcentral gyrus. We found no significant alterations in patients with major depressive disorder. Post hoc analyses revealed that compared with healthy controls, patients in the schizophrenia and bipolar disorder groups showed decreased global network efficiency, nodal efficiency and nodal degree in the left middle occipital gyrus. Furthermore, patients in the schizophrenia group showed decreased nodal efficiency and nodal degree in the left postcentral gyrus compared with healthy controls.

Limitations: Our findings could have been confounded in part by treatment differences.

Conclusion: Our findings implicate graded white matter network alterations across the 3 disorders, enhancing our understanding of shared and distinct pathophysiological mechanisms across diagnoses and providing vital insights into neuroimaging-based methods for diagnosis and research.


Submitted Sep. 12, 2018; Revised Jan. 25, 2019; Accepted Mar. 15, 2019; Published online Aug. 1, 2019

Acknowledgements: This work was supported by grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (81701336 to S. Wei, 81571311, 81071099 and 81271499 to Yanqing Tang, 81725005, 81571331 to Fei Wang), the National Key Research and Development Program (2016YFC1306900 to Yanqing Tang), the Liaoning Education Foundation (L2015591 to Shengnan Wei), the Liaoning Education Foundation (Pandeng Scholar, Fei Wang), the National Key Research and Development Program (2016YFC0904300 to Fei Wang), and the National High Tech Development Plan (863; 2015AA020513 to Fei Wang). The authors thank Dr. Fay Y. Womer, Department of Psychiatry, Washington University School of Medicine, and Dr. E. Kale Edmiston, Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, for their editing of this manuscript.

Affiliations: From the Department of Psychiatry, First Affiliated Hospital of China Medical University, Shenyang, Liaoning, China (S. Wang, Duan, Yin, Tang, F. Wang); the State Key Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience and Learning & IDG/McGovern Institute for Brain Research, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China (Gong, Zhong); the Department of Radiology, First Affiliated Hospital of China Medical University, Shenyang, Liaoning, China (Chang, Wei, Jiang, F. Wang); the Brain Function Research Section, First Affiliated Hospital of China Medical University, Shenyang, Liaoning, China (S. Wang, Duan, Chang, Wei, Jiang, Zhou, Tang, F. Wang); and the Department of Gerontology, First Affiliated Hospital of China Medical University, Shenyang, Liaoning, China (Zhou, Tang).

Competing interests: None declared.

Contributors: S. Wang, G. Gong, Y. Tang and F. Wang designed the study. S. Wang, J. Duan, Z. Yin, X. Jiang and Y. Zhou acquired the data, which S. Wang, G. Gong, S. Zhong, J. Duan, Z. Yin, M. Chang and S. Wei analyzed. S. Wang, Y. Tang and F. Wang wrote the article, which all authors reviewed. All authors approved the final version to be published and can certify that no other individuals not listed as authors have made substantial contributions to the paper.

DOI: 10.1503/cjs.180162

Correspondence to: F. Wang, Department of Psychiatry and Radiology, First Affiliated Hospital, China Medical University, 155 Nanjing North Street, Heping District, Shenyang, Liaoning, 110001, PR China; fei.wang@cmu.edu.cn; Y. Tang, Department of Psychiatry and Geriatrics, First Affiliated Hospital, China Medical University, 155 Nanjing North Street, Heping District, Shenyang, Liaoning, 110001, PR China; yanqingtang@163.com