Enigma Mdd: seven years of global neuroimaging studies of major depression through worldwide data sharing

Lianne Schmaal, Elena Pozzi, Tiffany C Ho, Laura S van Velzen, Ilya M Veer, Nils Opel, Eus J W Van Someren, Laura K M Han, Lybomir Aftanas, André Aleman, Bernhard T Baune, Klaus Berger, Tessa F Blanken, Liliana Capitão, Baptiste Couvy-Duchesne, Kathryn R Cullen, Udo Dannlowski, Christopher Davey, Tracy Erwin-Grabner, Jennifer EvansThomas Frodl, Cynthia H Y Fu, Beata Godlewska, Ian H Gotlib, Roberto Goya-Maldonado, Hans J Grabe, Nynke A Groenewold, Dominik Grotegerd, Oliver Gruber, Boris A Gutman, Geoffrey B Hall, Ben J Harrison, Sean N Hatton, Marco Hermesdorf, Ian B Hickie, Eva Hilland, Benson Irungu, Rune Jonassen, Sinead Kelly, Tilo Kircher, Bonnie Klimes-Dougan, Axel Krug, Nils Inge Landrø, Jim Lagopoulos, Jeanne Leerssen, Meng Li, David E J Linden, Frank P MacMaster, Andrew M McIntosh, David M A Mehler, Igor Nenadić, Brenda W J H Penninx, Maria J Portella, Liesbeth Reneman, Miguel E Rentería, Matthew D Sacchet, Philipp G Sämann, Anouk Schrantee, Kang Sim, Jair C Soares, Dan J Stein, Leonardo Tozzi, Nic J A van Der Wee, Marie-José van Tol, Robert Vermeiren, Yolanda Vives-Gilabert, Henrik Walter, Martin Walter, Heather C Whalley, Katharina Wittfeld, Sarah Whittle, Margaret J Wright, Tony T Yang, Carlos Zarate, Sophia I Thomopoulos, Neda Jahanshad, Paul M Thompson, Dick J Veltman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


A key objective in the field of translational psychiatry over the past few decades has been to identify the brain correlates of major depressive disorder (MDD). Identifying measurable indicators of brain processes associated with MDD could facilitate the detection of individuals at risk, and the development of novel treatments, the monitoring of treatment effects, and predicting who might benefit most from treatments that target specific brain mechanisms. However, despite intensive neuroimaging research towards this effort, underpowered studies and a lack of reproducible findings have hindered progress. Here, we discuss the work of the ENIGMA Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) Consortium, which was established to address issues of poor replication, unreliable results, and overestimation of effect sizes in previous studies. The ENIGMA MDD Consortium currently includes data from 45 MDD study cohorts from 14 countries across six continents. The primary aim of ENIGMA MDD is to identify structural and functional brain alterations associated with MDD that can be reliably detected and replicated across cohorts worldwide. A secondary goal is to investigate how demographic, genetic, clinical, psychological, and environmental factors affect these associations. In this review, we summarize findings of the ENIGMA MDD disease working group to date and discuss future directions. We also highlight the challenges and benefits of large-scale data sharing for mental health research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)172
JournalTranslational psychiatry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 29 May 2020


  • Brain/diagnostic imaging
  • Depression
  • Depressive Disorder, Major/diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Information Dissemination
  • Neuroimaging


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