1. The depressive symptoms were improved after nonpharmacological treatment. 2. Nonpharmacological treatment increased brain network functional connectivity. 3. The treatment response was related with enhanced rich club organization.
It has been suggested that the rich club organization in major depressive disorder (MDD) was altered. However, it remained unclear whether the rich club organization could be served as a biomarker that predicted the improvement of clinical symptoms in MDD.
The current study included 29 mild or moderate patients with MDD, who were grouped into a treatment group (receiving cognitive behavioral therapy or real-time fMRI feedback treatment) and a no-treatment group. Resting-state MRI scans were obtained for all participants. Graph theory was employed to investigate the treatment-related changes in network properties and rich club organization.
We found that patients in the treatment group had decreased depressive symptom scores and enhanced rich club connectivity following the nonpharmacological treatment. Moreover, the changes in rich club connectivity were significantly correlated with the changes in depressive symptom scores. In addition, the nonpharmacological treatment on patients with MDD increased functional connectivity mainly among the salience network, default mode network, frontoparietal network, and subcortical network. Patients in the no-treatment group did not show significant changes in depressive symptom scores and rich club organization.
Those results suggested that the remission of depressive symptoms after nonpharmacological treatment in MDD patients was associated with the increased efficiency of global information processing.