Alterations in EEG functional connectivity in individuals with depression: A systematic review

Aleksandra Miljevic, Neil W. Bailey, Oscar W. Murphy, M. Prabhavi N. Perera, Paul B. Fitzgerald

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


The brain works as an organised, network-like structure of functionally interconnected regions. Disruptions to interconnectivity in certain networks have been linked to symptoms of depression and impairments in cognition. Electroencephalography (EEG) is a low-burden tool by which differences in functional connectivity (FC) can be assessed. This systematic review aims to provide a synthesis of evidence relating to EEG FC in depression. A comprehensive electronic literature search for terms relating to depression, EEG, and FC was conducted on studies published before the end of November 2021, according to PRISMA guidelines. Studies comparing EEG measures of FC of individuals with depression to that of healthy control groups were included. Data was extracted by two independent reviewers, and the quality of EEG FC methods was assessed. Fifty-two studies assessing EEG FC in depression were identified: 36 assessed resting-state FC, and 16 assessed task-related or other (i.e., sleep) FC. Somewhat consistent findings in resting-state studies suggest for no differences between depression and control groups in EEG FC in the delta and gamma frequencies. However, while most resting-state studies noted a difference in alpha, theta, and beta, no clear conclusions could be drawn about the direction of the difference, due to considerable inconsistencies between study design and methodology. This was also true for task-related and other EEG FC. More robust research is needed to understand the true differences in EEG FC in depression. Given that the FC between brain regions drives behaviour, cognition, and emotion, characterising how FC differs in depression is essential for understanding the aetiology of depression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)287-302
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2023


  • Connectivity
  • Depression
  • EEG
  • Electroencephalography
  • Functional connectivity
  • Healthy controls
  • Major depressive disorder
  • Resting

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