We have identified a brain-based endophenotype for major depressive disorder (MDD) that includes thinning of the cortex of the lateral aspect of the right hemisphere and the medial aspect of the left, as well as bilateral hypoplasia of frontal and parietal white matter. The endophenotype status of these abnormalities is supported by their presence in a multigenerational cohort of persons who themselves do not have MDD but who are at increased familial risk for developing the illness. Those who have the endophenotype but who are not ill nevertheless still suffer from inattention and poor visual memory for social stimuli in direct proportion to the magnitude of cortical thinning and white matter hypoplasia within the endophenotype. Identification of this endophenotype and its cognitive correlates provides targets for devising new preventive and therapeutic interventions for MDD.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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