Late-life depression is common among older adults. Although white-matter abnormality is highly implicated, the extent to which the corticospinal tract is associated with the pathophysiology of late-life depression is unclear. The current study aims to investigate the white-matter structural integrity of the corticospinal tract and determine its cognitive and functional correlates in older adults with late-life depression. Twenty-eight older adults with clinical depression and 23 healthy age-matched older adults participated in the study. The white matter volume and the white matter hyperintensities (WMHs) of the corticospinal tract, as well as the global WMHs, were measured. Psychomotor processing speed, severity of depression, perceived levels of energy and physical functioning were measured to examine the relationships among the correlates in the depressed participants. The right corticospinal tract volume was significantly higher in depressed older adults relative to healthy controls. Moreover, the right corticospinal tract volume was significantly associated with the overall severity of depression and accounted for 17% of its variance. It further attenuated the relationship between the severity of depression and perceived levels of energy. Our findings suggested that higher volume in the right corticospinal tract is implicated in LLD and may relate to lower perceived levels of energy experienced by older adults with depression.
- Corticospinal tract
- Late-life depression
- Processing speed
- White matter
- White matter hyperintensities