The hippocampus is a key modulator of stress responses underlying depressive behavior. While FKBP5 has been found associated with a large number of stress-related outcomes and hippocampal features, its potential role in modifying the hippocampal communication transfer mechanisms with other brain regions remains largely unexplored. The putative genetic or environmental roots of the association between depression and structural connectivity alterations of the hippocampus were evaluated combining diffusion weighted imaging with both a quantitative genetics approach and molecular information on the rs1360780 single nucleotide polymorphism, in a sample of 54 informative monozygotic twins (27 pairs). Three main results were derived from the present analyses. First, graph-theoretical measures of hippocampal connectivity were altered in depression. Specifically, decreased connectivity strength and increased network centrality of the right hippocampus were found in depressed individuals. Second, these hippocampal alterations are potentially driven by familial factors (genes plus shared environment). Third, there is an additive interaction effect between FKBP5’s rs1360780 variant and the graph-theoretical metrics of hippocampal connectivity to influence depression risk. Our data reveals alterations of the communication patterns between the hippocampus and the rest of the brain in depression, effects potentially driven by overall familial factors (genes plus shared twin environment) and modified by the FKBP5 gene.
- Brain network
- MZ twins