Associations of depression and perceived physical fatigability with white matter integrity in older adults

Chemin Lin, Fang Cheng Yeh, Nancy W. Glynn, Theresa Gmelin, Yi Chia Wei, Yao Liang Chen, Chih Mao Huang, Yu Chiau Shyu, Chih Ken Chen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Backgrounds: Fatigability is prevalent in older adults. However, it is often associated with depressed mood. We aim to investigate these two psychobehavioral constructs by examining their underpinning of white matter structures in the brain and their associations with different medical conditions. Methods: Twenty-seven older adults with late-life depression (LLD) and 34 cognitively normal controls (CN) underwent multi-shell diffusion MRI. Fatigability was measured with the Pittsburgh Fatigability Scale. We examined white matter integrity by measuring the quantitative anisotropy (QA), a fiber tracking parameter with better accuracy than the traditional imaging technique. Results: We found those with LLD had lower QA in the 2nd branch of the left superior longitudinal fasciculus (SLF-II), and those with more physical fatigability had lower QA in more widespread brain regions. In tracts associated with more physical fatigability, the lower QA in left acoustic radiation and left superior thalamic radiation correlated with higher blood glucose (r = - 0.46 and - 0.49). In tracts associated with depression, lower QA in left SLF-II correlated with higher bilirubin level (r = - 0.58). Discussion: Depression and fatigability were associated with various white matter integrity changes, which correlated with biochemistry biomarkers all related to inflammation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number111793
JournalPsychiatry Research - Neuroimaging
StatePublished - Jun 2024


  • Diffusion MRI
  • Fatigability
  • Inflammation
  • Late-life depression
  • Tractography


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