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Slowed information processing speed (IPS) is the core contributor to cognitive impairment in patients with late-life depression (LLD). The hippocampus is an important link between depression and dementia, and it may be involved in IPS slowing in LLD. However, the relationship between a slowed IPS and the dynamic activity and connectivity of hippocampal subregions in patients with LLD remains unclear.
One hundred thirty-four patients with LLD and 89 healthy controls were recruited. Sliding-window analysis was used to assess whole-brain dynamic functional connectivity (dFC), dynamic fractional amplitude of low-frequency fluctuations (dfALFF) and dynamic regional homogeneity (dReHo) for each hippocampal subregion seed.
Cognitive impairment (global cognition, verbal memory, language, visual–spatial skill, executive function and working memory) in patients with LLD was mediated by their slowed IPS. Compared with the controls, patients with LLD exhibited decreased dFC between various hippocampal subregions and the frontal cortex and decreased dReho in the left rostral hippocampus. Additionally, most of the dFCs were negatively associated with the severity of depressive symptoms and were positively associated with various domains of cognitive function. Moreover, the dFC between the left rostral hippocampus and middle frontal gyrus exhibited a partial mediation effect on the relationships between the scores of depressive symptoms and IPS.
Patients with LLD exhibited decreased dFC between the hippocampus and frontal cortex, and the decreased dFC between the left rostral hippocampus and right middle frontal gyrus was involved in the underlying neural substrate of the slowed IPS.
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