International Psychogeriatrics

Research Article

A morphometric examination of neuronal and glial cell pathology in the orbitofrontal cortex in late-life depression

Ahmad Khundakara1 c1, Christopher Morrisa1, Arthur Oakleya1 and Alan J. Thomasa1

a1 Institute for Ageing and Health, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, U.K.


Background: The orbitofrontal cortex has been implicated as a key component in depression by several imaging studies. This study aims to examine morphometrically glial cell and neuronal density and neuronal volume in the orbitofrontal cortex of late-life major depression patients.

Methods: Post mortem tissue from 13 patients with major depression and 11 matched controls was obtained and analyzed using the optical disector and nucleator methods.

Results: No changes were found in glial cell, pyramidal or non-pyramidal neuron density, or in non-pyramidal and pyramidal neuron volume in the orbitofrontal cortex.

Conclusions: Based on previous findings, this study suggests variability in morphological changes within the orbitofrontal cortex, as well as the prefrontal cortex as a whole.

(Received January 14 2010)

(Revised March 18 2010)

(Accepted March 28 2010)

(Online publication June 18 2010)


c1 Correspondence should be addressed to: Ahmad Khundakar, Institute for Ageing and Health, Newcastle University, Campus for Ageing and Vitality, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE4 5PL, U.K. Phone: +44 (0)191 445 5212; Fax: +44 (0)191 445 6685. Email: