Smaller caudate gray matter volume is associated with greater implicit suicidal ideation in depressed adolescents. Journal of affective disorders Ho, T. C., Teresi, G. I., Ojha, A. n., Walker, J. C., Kirshenbaum, J. S., Singh, M. K., Gotlib, I. H. 2020; 278: 650–57


Objective biomarkers of cognitive vulnerabilities related to suicidal ideation (SI) may assist in early prevention in adolescents. Previously, we found that smaller gray matter volumes (GMVs) of the dorsal striatum prospectively predicted implicit SI, measured using a computerized implicit association test (IAT) assessing associations between "self" and "death," in a community sample of adolescents. Here, we sought to replicate these findings in an independent sample of depressed adolescents.53 depressed adolescents who varied in severity of suicidal thoughts and behaviors completed high-resolution structural MRI. Caudate, putamen, and nucleus accumbens GMVs were estimated using FreeSurfer 6.0. Robust linear regressions were used to examine associations between striatal GMVs and implicit and explicit SI, covarying for sex, age, total intracranial volume, medication use, and depression severity. Significance was determined using Bonferroni correction. Finally, LASSO regression was used to identify which striatal GMV contributed most to prediction of implicit SI.Smaller bilateral caudate and right nucleus accumbens GMVs were associated with higher IAT scores (all ps<0.001). Smaller putamen and nucleus accumbens GMVs were not associated with implicit or explicit SI. Our LASSO analysis indicated that right caudate GMV contributed most to the prediction of IAT scores.This study is the first to demonstrate that caudate GMVs are significantly associated with implicit self-associations with death in a sample of depressed adolescents. When considered with our previous work, smaller caudate GMVs may be a robust biomarker of implicit SI in adolescents, with clinical implications for early identification of youth at risk for engaging in suicidal behaviors.

View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jad.2020.09.046

View details for PubMedID 33039875