Background: Suicide is a public health concern for United States veterans and civilians. Prior research has shown neurobiological factors in suicide. However, studies of neuroimaging correlates of suicide risk have been limited. This study applied complex weighted network analyses to characterize the neural connectivity in white matter in veterans with suicide behavior. Methods: Twenty-eight veterans without suicide behavior (NS), 29 with a history of suicidal ideation only (SI), and 23 with prior suicide attempt (SA) completed diffusion tensor brain imaging, the Columbia Suicide Severity Rating Scale and Barratt Impulsiveness Scale (BIS). Structural connectivity networks among 82 parcellated brain regions were produced using whole-brain tractography. Global and nodal metrics of network topology have been calculated. Results: SA had shorter characteristic path length and greater global efficiency and mean weighted degree of global network metrics (p < 0.024). SA had more hub nodes than NS and SI. The left posterior cingulate cortex (PCC) showed significantly greater weighted degree in SA relative to others (p < 0.0003). Nonplanning subscale of BIS correlated with the weighted degrees of the left PCC within SA. In rich club connectivity, SA had higher local connections than others (p = 0.001). Conclusion: Veterans with prior suicide attempt had altered connectivity networks characteristics in the white matter. These findings may be distinctive neurobiological markers for individuals with suicide attempt. Strong connectivity in the left PCC may be implicated in impulsivity in veterans with suicide attempt.
- Diffusion tensor imaging
- White matter