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Morphometric analysis of neuronal and glial cell pathology in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex in late-life depression

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Ahmad Khundakar, Dr Christopher Morris, Arthur Oakley, Professor Alan ThomasORCiD


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Background Late-life depression has been associated with cerebrovascular disease and especially with ischaemic white matter hyperintensities on magnetic resonance imaging. Neuroinnaging and morphometric studies have identified abnormalities in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. Aims To examine glial and neuronal density and neuronal volume in the dorsolateral brefrontal cortex in late-life major depression. Method We used the disector and nucleator methods to estimate neuronal density and volume and glial density of cells in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex in a post-mortem study of 17 individuals with late-life major depression and 10 age-matched controls. Results We found a reduction in the volume of pyramidal neurones in the whole cortex, which was also present in layer 3 and more markedly in layer 5. There were no comparable changes in non-pyramidal neurones and no glial differences. Conclusions Overall, we found a decrease in pyramidal neuronal size in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex in late-life depression.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Khundakar A, Morris C, Oakley A, McMeekin W, Thomas AJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: British Journal of Psychiatry

Year: 2009

Volume: 195

Issue: 2

Pages: 163-169

ISSN (print): 0007-1250

ISSN (electronic): 1472-1465

Publisher: Royal College of Psychiatrists


DOI: 10.1192/bjp.bp.108.052688


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Funder referenceFunder name
G0900652Medical Research Council
G0400074Medical Research Council
G0502157Medical Research Council