Association between cytomegalovirus infection, reduced gray matter volume, and resting-state functional hypoconnectivity in major depressive disorder: a replication and extension

Haixia Zheng, Bart N. Ford, Rayus Kuplicki, Kaiping Burrows, Peter W. Hunt, Jerzy Bodurka, T. Kent Teague, Michael R. Irwin, Robert H. Yolken, Martin P. Paulus, Jonathan Savitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is a neurotropic herpes virus known to cause neuropathology in patients with impaired immunity. Previously, we reported a reduction in the gray matter volume (GMV) of several brain regions in two independent samples of participants who were seropositive for HCMV (HCMV+) compared to matched participants who were seronegative for HCMV (HCMV−). In addition to an independent replication of the GMV findings, this study aimed to examine whether HCMV+ was associated with differences in resting-state functional connectivity (rsfMRI-FC). After balancing on 11 clinical/demographic variables using inverse probability of treatment weighting (IPTW), GMV and rsfMRI-FC were obtained from 99 participants with major depressive disorder (MDD) who were classified into 42 HCMV+ and 57 HCMV− individuals. Relative to the HCMV− group, the HCMV+ group showed a significant reduction of GMV in nine cortical regions. Volume reduction in the right lateral orbitofrontal cortex (standardized beta coefficient (SBC) = −0.32, [95%CI, −0.62 to −0.02]) and the left pars orbitalis (SBC = −0.34, [95%CI, −0.63 to −0.05]) in the HCMV+ group was also observed in the previous study. Regardless of the parcellation method or analytical approach, relative to the HCMV− group, the HCMV+ group showed hypoconnectivity between the hubs of the sensorimotor network (bilateral postcentral gyrus) and the hubs of the salience network (bilateral insula) with effect sizes ranging from SBC = −0.57 to −0.99. These findings support the hypothesis that a positive HCMV serostatus is associated with altered connectivity of regions that are important for stress and affective processing and further supports a possible etiological role of HCMV in depression.

Original languageEnglish
Article number464
JournalTranslational Psychiatry
Volume11
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2021
Externally publishedYes

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