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Major depressive disorder (MDD) has been associated with alterations in brain white matter (WM) microstructure. However, diffusion tensor imaging studies in biological relatives have presented contradicting results on WM alterations and their potential as biomarkers for vulnerability or resilience. To shed more light on associations between WM microstructure and resilience to familial risk, analyses including both healthy and depressed relatives of MDD patients are needed.
In a 2 (MDD v. healthy controls, HC) × 2 (familial risk yes v. no) design, we investigated fractional anisotropy (FA) via tract-based spatial statistics in a large well-characterised adult sample (N = 528), with additional controls for childhood maltreatment, a potentially confounding proxy for environmental risk.
Analyses revealed a significant main effect of diagnosis on FA in the forceps minor and the left superior longitudinal fasciculus (ptfce−FWE = 0.009). Furthermore, a significant interaction of diagnosis with familial risk emerged (ptfce−FWE = 0.036) Post-hoc pairwise comparisons showed significantly higher FA, mainly in the forceps minor and right inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus, in HC with as compared to HC without familial risk (ptfce−FWE < 0.001), whereas familial risk played no role in MDD patients (ptfce−FWE = 0.797). Adding childhood maltreatment as a covariate, the interaction effect remained stable.
We found widespread increased FA in HC with familial risk for MDD as compared to a HC low-risk sample. The significant effect of risk on FA was present only in HC, but not in the MDD sample. These alterations might reflect compensatory neural mechanisms in healthy adults at risk for MDD potentially associated with resilience.
Relapses in major depression are frequent and are associated with a high burden of disease. Although short-term studies suggest a normalisation of depression-associated brain functional alterations directly after treatment, long-term investigations are sparse.
To examine brain function during negative emotion processing in association with course of illness over a 2-year span.
In this prospective case–control study, 72 in-patients with current depression and 42 healthy controls were investigated during a negative emotional face processing paradigm, at baseline and after 2 years. According to their course of illness during the study interval, patients were divided into subgroups (n = 25 no-relapse, n = 47 relapse). The differential changes in brain activity were investigated by a group × time analysis of covariance for the amygdala, hippocampus, insula and at whole-brain level.
A significant relapse × time interaction emerged within the amygdala (PTFCE-FWE = 0.011), insula (PTFCE-FWE = 0.001) and at the whole-brain level mainly in the temporal and prefrontal cortex (PTFCE-FWE = 0.027), resulting from activity increases within the no-relapse group, whereas in the relapse group, activity decreased during the study interval. At baseline, the no-relapse group showed amygdala, hippocampus and insula hypoactivity compared with healthy controls and the relapse group.
This study reveals course of illness-associated activity changes in emotion processing areas. Patients in full remission show a normalisation of their baseline hypo-responsiveness to the activation level of healthy controls after 2 years. Brain function during emotion processing could further serve as a potential predictive marker for future relapse.
Studying phenotypic and genetic characteristics of age at onset (AAO) and polarity at onset (PAO) in bipolar disorder can provide new insights into disease pathology and facilitate the development of screening tools.
To examine the genetic architecture of AAO and PAO and their association with bipolar disorder disease characteristics.
Genome-wide association studies (GWASs) and polygenic score (PGS) analyses of AAO (n = 12 977) and PAO (n = 6773) were conducted in patients with bipolar disorder from 34 cohorts and a replication sample (n = 2237). The association of onset with disease characteristics was investigated in two of these cohorts.
Earlier AAO was associated with a higher probability of psychotic symptoms, suicidality, lower educational attainment, not living together and fewer episodes. Depressive onset correlated with suicidality and manic onset correlated with delusions and manic episodes. Systematic differences in AAO between cohorts and continents of origin were observed. This was also reflected in single-nucleotide variant-based heritability estimates, with higher heritabilities for stricter onset definitions. Increased PGS for autism spectrum disorder (β = −0.34 years, s.e. = 0.08), major depression (β = −0.34 years, s.e. = 0.08), schizophrenia (β = −0.39 years, s.e. = 0.08), and educational attainment (β = −0.31 years, s.e. = 0.08) were associated with an earlier AAO. The AAO GWAS identified one significant locus, but this finding did not replicate. Neither GWAS nor PGS analyses yielded significant associations with PAO.
AAO and PAO are associated with indicators of bipolar disorder severity. Individuals with an earlier onset show an increased polygenic liability for a broad spectrum of psychiatric traits. Systematic differences in AAO across cohorts, continents and phenotype definitions introduce significant heterogeneity, affecting analyses.
Dating of ancient permafrost is essential for understanding long-term permafrost stability and interpreting palaeoenvironmental conditions but presents substantial challenges to geochronology. Here, we apply four methods to permafrost from the megaslump at Batagay, east Siberia: (1) optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dating of quartz, (2) post-infrared infrared-stimulated luminescence (pIRIR) dating of K-feldspar, (3) radiocarbon dating of organic material, and (4) 36Cl/Cl dating of ice wedges. All four chronometers produce stratigraphically consistent and comparable ages. However, OSL appears to date Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 3 to MIS 2 deposits more reliably than pIRIR, whereas the latter is more consistent with 36Cl/Cl ages for older deposits. The lower ice complex developed at least 650 ka, potentially during MIS 16, and represents the oldest dated permafrost in western Beringia and the second-oldest known ice in the Northern Hemisphere. It has survived multiple interglaciations, including the super-interglaciation MIS 11c, though a thaw unconformity and erosional surface indicate at least one episode of permafrost thaw and erosion occurred sometime between MIS 16 and 6. The upper ice complex formed from at least 60 to 30 ka during late MIS 4 to 3. The sand unit above the upper ice complex is dated to MIS 3–2, whereas the sand unit below formed at some time between MIS 4 and 16.
Childhood maltreatment (CM) plays an important role in the development of major depressive disorder (MDD). The aim of this study was to examine whether CM severity and type are associated with MDD-related brain alterations, and how they interact with sex and age.
Within the ENIGMA-MDD network, severity and subtypes of CM using the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire were assessed and structural magnetic resonance imaging data from patients with MDD and healthy controls were analyzed in a mega-analysis comprising a total of 3872 participants aged between 13 and 89 years. Cortical thickness and surface area were extracted at each site using FreeSurfer.
CM severity was associated with reduced cortical thickness in the banks of the superior temporal sulcus and supramarginal gyrus as well as with reduced surface area of the middle temporal lobe. Participants reporting both childhood neglect and abuse had a lower cortical thickness in the inferior parietal lobe, middle temporal lobe, and precuneus compared to participants not exposed to CM. In males only, regardless of diagnosis, CM severity was associated with higher cortical thickness of the rostral anterior cingulate cortex. Finally, a significant interaction between CM and age in predicting thickness was seen across several prefrontal, temporal, and temporo-parietal regions.
Severity and type of CM may impact cortical thickness and surface area. Importantly, CM may influence age-dependent brain maturation, particularly in regions related to the default mode network, perception, and theory of mind.
Late Quaternary landscapes of unglaciated Beringia were largely shaped by ice-wedge polygon tundra. Ice Complex (IC) strata preserve such ancient polygon formations. Here we report on the Yukagir IC from Bol'shoy Lyakhovsky Island in northeastern Siberia and suggest that new radioisotope disequilibria (230Th/U) dates of the Yukagir IC peat confirm its formation during the Marine Oxygen Isotope Stage (MIS) 7a–c interglacial period. The preservation of the ice-rich Yukagir IC proves its resilience to last interglacial and late glacial–Holocene warming. This study compares the Yukagir IC to IC strata of MIS 5, MIS 3, and MIS 2 ages exposed on Bol'shoy Lyakhovsky Island. Besides high intrasedimental ice content and syngenetic ice wedges intersecting silts, sandy silts, the Yukagir IC is characterized by high organic matter (OM) accumulation and low OM decomposition of a distinctive Drepanocladus moss-peat. The Yukagir IC pollen data reveal grass-shrub-moss tundra indicating rather wet summer conditions similar to modern ones. The stable isotope composition of Yukagir IC wedge ice is similar to those of the MIS 5 and MIS 3 ICs pointing to similar atmospheric moisture generation and transport patterns in winter. IC data from glacial and interglacial periods provide insights into permafrost and climate dynamics since about 200 ka.
Temporal variations of the radionuclide 10Be are broadly synchronous across the globe and thus provide a powerful tool to synchronize ice core chronologies from different locations. We compared the 10Be record of the Akademii Nauk (AN) ice core (Russian Arctic) for the time period CE 1590–1950 to the 10Be records of two well-dated Greenland ice cores (Dye3 and NGRIP). A high correlation (r = 0.59) was found between the AN and Dye3 records whereas the correlation with NGRIP was distinctly lower (r = 0.45). Sources of deviations may include local fluctuations in the deposition of 10Be due to changes in the precipitation patterns, and artefacts due to the core-sampling strategy. In general, the existing age model was validated, confirming the AN ice core to be a unique and well-dated source of palaeoclimate parameters for the Russian Arctic. We further used numerical simulations to test the influence of the core-sampling strategy on the results and derived an optimized sampling strategy for the deeper parts of the ice core.
From 1999 to 2001 a 724 m deep ice core was drilled on Akademii Nauk ice cap, Severnaya Zemlya, to gain high-resolution proxy data from the central Russian Arctic. Despite strong summertime meltwater percolation, this ice core provides valuable information on the regional climate and environmental history. We present data of stable water isotopes, melt-layer content and major ions from the uppermost 57 m of this core, covering the period 1883–1998. Dating was achieved by counting seasonal isotopic cycles and using reference horizons. Multi-annual δ18O values reflect Eurasian sub-Arctic and Arctic surface air-temperature variations. We found strong correlations to instrumental temperature data from some stations (e.g. r = 0.62 for Vardø, northern Norway). The δ18O values show pronounced 20th-century temperature changes, with a strong rise about 1920 and the absolute temperature maximum in the 1930s. A recent decrease in the deuterium-excess time series indicates an increasing role of the Kara Sea as a regional moisture source. From the multi-annual ion variations we deduced decreasing sea-salt aerosol trends in the 20th century, as reflected by sodium and chloride, whereas sulphate and nitrate are strongly affected by anthropogenic pollution.
Between 1999 and 2001, a 724 m long ice core was drilled on Akademii Nauk, the largest glacier on Severnaya Zemlya, Russian Arctic. The drilling site is located near the summit. The core is characterized by high melt-layer content. The melt layers are caused by melting and even by rain during the summer. We present high-resolution data of density, electrical conductivity (dielectrical profiling), stable water isotopes and melt-layer content for the upper 136m (120 m w.e.) of the ice core. The dating by isotopic cycles and electrical conductivity peak identification suggests that this core section covers approximately the past 275 years. Singularities of volcanogenic and anthropogenic origin provide well-defined additional time markers. Long-term temperatures inferred from 12 year running mean averages of δ18O reach their lowest level in the entire record around 1790. Thereafter the δ18O values indicate a continuously increasing mean temperature on the Akademii Nauk ice cap until 1935, interrupted only by minor cooling episodes. The 20th century is found to be the warmest period in this record.
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