Background: Orbitofrontal cortex alterations have been suggested to underlie the impaired mood regulation in depression. MAOA-uVNTR (monoamine oxidase A-upstream variable number of tandem repeats) polymorphism has been reported to be associated with major depressive disorder by various studies. The influence of MAOA-uVNTR genotype on function and structure of the orbitofrontal cortex has previously been reported. In this study, we investigated the difference in orbitofrontal cortex thickness between medication-naïve female patients with major depressive disorder and healthy controls, and the influence of MAOA-uVNTR genotype on orbitofrontal cortex thickness in depression. Methods: Thirty-one patients with major depressive disorder and 43 healthy controls were included. All participants were subjected to T1-weighted structural magnetic resonance imaging and genotyped for MAOA-uVNTR polymorphism. An automated procedure of FreeSurfer was used to analyze difference in orbitofrontal cortex thickness. Results: Patients showed a significantly thinner left orbitofrontal cortex (F (1,71) = 7.941, p = 0.006) and right orbitofrontal cortex (F (1,71) = 17.447, p < 0.001). For the orbitofrontal cortex sub-region analysis, patients showed a significantly thinner left medial orbitofrontal cortex (F (1,71) = 8.117, p = 0.006), right medial orbitofrontal cortex (F (1,71) = 21.795, p < 0.001) and right lateral orbitofrontal cortex (F (1,71) = 9.932, p = 0.002) compared to healthy controls. No significant interaction of diagnosis and MAOA-uVNTR genotype on orbitofrontal cortex thickness was revealed. Conclusions: Our results suggest that structural alterations of the orbitofrontal cortex may be associated with the pathophysiology of major depressive disorder. Future studies with larger sample sizes are needed to detect a possible association between MAOA-uVNTR genotype and orbitofrontal cortex thickness in depression.
- Major depressive disorder
- Monoamine oxidase A-upstream variable number of tandem repeats
- Orbitofrontal cortex thickness
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health