Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC San Diego

UC San Diego Previously Published Works bannerUC San Diego

Emotion-Dependent Functional Connectivity of the Default Mode Network in Adolescent Depression.

Published Web Location
No data is associated with this publication.


Functional magnetic resonance imaging research suggests that major depressive disorder (MDD) in both adults and adolescents is marked by aberrant connectivity of the default mode network (DMN) during resting state. However, emotional dysregulation is also a key feature of MDD. No studies to date have examined emotion-related DMN pathology in adolescent depression. Comprehensively understanding the dynamics of DMN connectivity across brain states in individuals with depression with short disease histories could provide insight into the etiology of MDD.


We collected functional magnetic resonance imaging data during an emotion identification task and during resting state from 26 medication-free adolescents (13-17 years old) with MDD and 37 well-matched healthy control subjects. We examined between-group differences in blood oxygenation level-dependent task responses and emotion-dependent and resting-state functional connectivity of the two primary nodes of the DMN: medial prefrontal cortex and posterior cingulate cortex (PCC). Additionally, we examined between-group differences in DMN functional connectivity and its relationship to depression severity and onset.


Relative to healthy control subjects, unmedicated adolescents with MDD demonstrated reduced medial prefrontal cortex and PCC emotion-related deactivation and greater medial prefrontal cortex and PCC emotion-dependent functional connectivity with precuneus, cingulate gyrus, and striatum/subcallosal cingulate gyrus. The PCC-subcallosal cingulate connectivity remained inflexibly elevated in the subjects with MDD versus healthy control subjects during resting state. Stronger PCC emotion-dependent functional connectivity was associated with greater depression severity and an earlier age of depression onset.


Adolescent depression is associated with inflexibly elevated DMN connections. Given more recent evidence of DMN maturation throughout adolescence, our findings suggest that early-onset depression adversely affects normal development of functional brain networks.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Item not freely available? Link broken?
Report a problem accessing this item