Alterations in structural rich-club connectivity of the precuneus are associated with depressive symptoms among individuals with subjective memory complaints

  • Geon Ha Kim
  • Jung Yoon Kim
  • Jieun E. Kim
  • Jiyoung Ma
  • Bori R. Kim
  • Jooyeon Jamie Im
  • Hyeonseok S. Jeong
  • Eun Namgung
  • Suji Lee
  • Ilhyang Kang
  • In Kyoon Lyoo
  • Jaeuk HwangEmail author
  • Sujung YoonEmail author


The association between subjective memory complaints (SMCs) and depressive symptoms has been widely reported and both have been regarded as risk factors for dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Although SMCs arise as early as in middle age, the exact neural correlates of comorbid depressive symptoms among individuals who are middle-aged and with SMCs have not yet been well investigated. Because rich-club organization of the brain plays a key role in the pathophysiology of various neuropsychiatric disorders, the investigation of rich club organization may provide insight regarding the neurobiological mechanisms of depressive symptoms in SMCs. In the current study, we compared the rich-club organization in the structural brain connectivity between individuals who have SMCs along with depressive symptoms (SMCD) and individuals with SMCs but without depressive symptoms (SMCO). A total of 53 individuals with SMCD and 91 individuals with SMCO participated in the study. For all participants, high-resolution, T1-weighted images and diffusion tensor images were obtained, and the network analysis was performed. Individuals with SMCD had lower connectivity strength between the precuneus and other rich-club nodes than those with SMCO, which was significant after adjusting for potential confounders. Our findings suggest that disruptions of rich-club connectivity strength of the precuenus are associated with depressive symptoms in middle-aged individuals with SMCs. Given that the precuneus is one of the commonly affected regions in the early stages of AD, our findings may imply that the concomitant depressive symptoms in middle-aged individuals with SMCs could reflect structural alterations related to AD.


Subjective memory complaints Depressive symptoms Precuneus Structural brain network Network analysis Rich-club organization 


Author contributions

GHK and JYK: Conception and design, data analysis and interpretation, and manuscript writing; JEK, JM, BK, JI, HJ, EN, SL, IK and IL: Collection and assembly of data and data analysis and interpretation; JH and SY: Conception and design, administrative support, manuscript writing, and final approval of manuscript


This work was supported from the ICT R&D program of Institute for Information & communications Technology Promotion (B0132-15-1001 to SY) and through the the National Research Foundation of Korea funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT & Future Planning (2015M3C7A1028376 to JYK) and by the Ministry of Education (2015R1D1A1A01061198 to GHK, and 2016R1A2B2012575 to SY).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All authors declare that this research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

13415_2018_645_MOESM1_ESM.docx (61 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 60 kb)


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Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Geon Ha Kim
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jung Yoon Kim
    • 1
    • 3
  • Jieun E. Kim
    • 1
    • 3
  • Jiyoung Ma
    • 1
    • 4
  • Bori R. Kim
    • 1
    • 3
  • Jooyeon Jamie Im
    • 1
    • 4
  • Hyeonseok S. Jeong
    • 5
  • Eun Namgung
    • 1
    • 3
  • Suji Lee
    • 1
    • 3
  • Ilhyang Kang
    • 1
    • 3
  • In Kyoon Lyoo
    • 1
    • 3
    • 6
    • 7
  • Jaeuk Hwang
    • 8
    Email author
  • Sujung Yoon
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Ewha Brain InstituteEwha Womans UniversitySeoulSouth Korea
  2. 2.Department of Neurology, College of MedicineEwha Womans University Mokdong HospitalSeoulSouth Korea
  3. 3.Department of Brain and Cognitive SciencesEwha Womans UniversitySeoulSouth Korea
  4. 4.Interdisciplinary Program in Neuroscience, College of Natural SciencesSeoul National UniversitySeoulSouth Korea
  5. 5.Department of Radiology, Incheon St. Mary’s Hospital, College of MedicineThe Catholic University of KoreaSeoulSouth Korea
  6. 6.College of Pharmacy, Graduate School of Pharmaceutical SciencesEwha Womans UniversitySeoulSouth Korea
  7. 7.The Brain Institute and Department of PsychiatryUniversity of UtahSalt Lake CityUSA
  8. 8.Department of PsychiatrySoonchunhyang University College of MedicineSeoulSouth Korea

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