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Decreased cortical gyrification in major depressive disorder

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 May 2023

Youbin Kang
Department of Biomedical Sciences, Korea University College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea
Wooyoung Kang
Department of Biomedical Sciences, Korea University College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea
Aram Kim
Department of Biomedical Sciences, Korea University College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea
Woo-Suk Tae
Brain Convergence Research Center, Korea University, Seoul, Republic of Korea
Byung-Joo Ham*
Brain Convergence Research Center, Korea University, Seoul, Republic of Korea Department of Psychiatry, Korea University Anam Hospital, Korea University College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea
Kyu-Man Han*
Brain Convergence Research Center, Korea University, Seoul, Republic of Korea Department of Psychiatry, Korea University Anam Hospital, Korea University College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea
Corresponding author: Kyu-Man Han; Email:; Byung-Joo Ham; Email:
Corresponding author: Kyu-Man Han; Email:; Byung-Joo Ham; Email:



Early neurodevelopmental deviations, such as abnormal cortical folding patterns, are candidate biomarkers of major depressive disorder (MDD). We aimed to investigate the association of MDD with the local gyrification index (LGI) in each cortical region at the whole-brain level, and the association of the LGI with clinical characteristics of MDD.


We obtained T1-weighted images from 234 patients with MDD and 215 healthy controls (HCs). The LGI values from 66 cortical regions in the bilateral hemispheres were automatically calculated according to the Desikan–Killiany atlas. We compared the LGI values between the MDD and HC groups using analysis of covariance, including age, sex, and years of education as covariates. The association between the clinical characteristics and LGI values was investigated in the MDD group.


Compared with HCs, patients with MDD showed significantly decreased LGI values in the cortical regions, including the bilateral ventrolateral and dorsolateral prefrontal cortices, medial and lateral orbitofrontal cortices, insula, right rostral anterior cingulate cortex, and several temporal and parietal regions, with the largest effect size in the left pars triangularis (Cohen's f2 = 0.361; p = 1.78 × 10−13). Regarding the association of clinical characteristics with LGIs within the MDD group, recurrence and longer illness duration were associated with increased gyrification in several occipital and temporal regions, which showed no significant difference in LGIs between the MDD and HC groups.


These findings suggest that the LGI may be a relatively stable neuroimaging marker associated with MDD predisposition.

Original Article
Copyright © The Author(s), 2023. Published by Cambridge University Press

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