Accelerated brain aging in major depressive disorder and antidepressant treatment response: A CAN-BIND report Academic Article uri icon

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  • OBJECTIVES: Previous studies suggest that major depressive disorder (MDD) may be associated with volumetric indications of accelerated brain aging. This study investigated neuroanatomical signs of accelerated aging in MDD and evaluated whether a brain age gap is associated with antidepressant response. METHODS: Individuals in a major depressive episode received escitalopram treatment (10-20 mg/d) for 8 weeks. Depression severity was assessed at baseline and at weeks 8 and 16 using the Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS). Response to treatment was characterized by a significant reduction in the MADRS (≥50%). Nonresponders received adjunctive aripiprazole treatment (2-10 mg/d) for a further 8 weeks. The brain-predicted age difference (brain-PAD) at baseline was determined using machine learning methods trained on 3377 healthy individuals from seven publicly available datasets. The model used features from all brain regions extracted from structural magnetic resonance imaging data. RESULTS: Brain-PAD was significantly higher in older MDD participants compared to younger MDD participants [t(147.35) = -2.35, p < 0.03]. BMI was significantly associated with brain-PAD in the MDD group [r(155) = 0.19, p < 0.03]. Response to treatment was not significantly associated with brain-PAD. CONCLUSION: We found an elevated brain age gap in older individuals with MDD. Brain-PAD was not associated with overall treatment response to escitalopram monotherapy or escitalopram plus adjunctive aripiprazole.


  • Ballester, Pedro L
  • Suh, Jee Su
  • Nogovitsyn, Nikita
  • Hassel, Stefanie
  • Strother, Stephen C
  • Arnott, Stephen R
  • Minuzzi, Luciano
  • Sassi, Roberto
  • Lam, Raymond W
  • Milev, Roumen
  • Müller, Daniel J
  • Taylor, Valerie H
  • Kennedy, Sidney H
  • Frey, Benicio

publication date

  • 2021