Relationship between depressive symptom severity and amygdala volume in a large community-based sample

Shivani Daftary, Erin A Van Enkevort, Alexandra Kulikova, Michael Legacy, Edson S Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Amygdala is an affective processing center that regulates and assigns valence to different emotions and has been implicated in the pathophysiology of mood disorders. This population-based study employed a community sample of 1747 adults to examine relationships between amygdala volume and depressive symptom severity. Neuroimaging data from participants in the Dallas Heart Study were used. Magnetic resonance images of right, left, and total amygdala volume were used as response variables in multiple regressions. Predictor variables included Quick Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology Self-Report (QIDS-SR) scores, intracranial volume, age, gender, race/ethnicity, body mass index, self-reported alcohol use, years of education, and psychotropic medication use. In the overall sample, QIDS-SR scores were not significantly related to left, right or total amygdala volume. A significant QIDS-SR by age interaction was observed, thus a follow-up subgroup analysis was conducted in age groups 18–39, 40–59, and ≥ 960. A significant negative relationship was observed between QIDS-SR scores and right and total, but not left, amygdala volume in the 18–39 age group but not in other age groups. Significant relationship between QIDS-SR scores and amygdala volume in young adults suggests possible biological differences in depressive symptoms in people of this age group.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)77-82
Number of pages6
JournalPsychiatry Research - Neuroimaging
StatePublished - Jan 30 2019


  • Amygdala
  • Anxiety
  • Brain volume
  • Dallas Heart Study
  • Depressive symptom severity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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