Chronotype, Longitudinal Volumetric Brain Variations Throughout Adolescence, and Depressive Symptom Development

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch articleContributedpeer-review


  • Hélène Vulser - , Heidelberg University , Sorbonne Université (Author)
  • Hervé S. Lemaître - , Université de Bordeaux (Author)
  • Stella Guldner - , Heidelberg University  (Author)
  • Pauline Bezivin-Frère - , École normale supérieure Paris-Saclay (Author)
  • Martin Löffler - , Heidelberg University  (Author)
  • Anna S. Sarvasmaa - , University of Helsinki (Author)
  • Jessica Massicotte-Marquez - , École normale supérieure Paris-Saclay (Author)
  • Eric Artiges - , École normale supérieure Paris-Saclay, EPS Barthélémy Durand (Author)
  • Marie Laure Paillère Martinot - , Sorbonne Université, École normale supérieure Paris-Saclay (Author)
  • Irina Filippi - , École normale supérieure Paris-Saclay (Author)
  • Ruben Miranda - , Sorbonne Université (Author)
  • Argyris Stringaris - , National Institutes of Health (NIH) (Author)
  • Betteke Maria van Noort - , Hochschule für Gesundheit und Medizin (Author)
  • Jani Penttilä - , Tampere University Hospital (Author)
  • Yvonne Grimmer - , Heidelberg University  (Author)
  • Andreas Becker - , University of Göttingen (Author)
  • Tobias Banaschewski - , Heidelberg University  (Author)
  • Arun L.W. Bokde - , Trinity College Dublin (Author)
  • Sylvane Desrivières - , King's College London (KCL) (Author)
  • Juliane H. Fröhner - , Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy (Author)
  • Hugh Garavan - , University of Vermont (Author)
  • Antoine Grigis - , Université Paris-Saclay (Author)
  • Penny A. Gowland - , University of Nottingham (Author)
  • Andreas Heinz - , Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin (Author)
  • Dimitri Papadopoulos Orfanos - , Université Paris-Saclay (Author)
  • Luise Poustka - , University of Göttingen (Author)
  • Michael N. Smolka - , Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy (Author)
  • Philip A. Spechler - , University of Vermont (Author)
  • Henrik Walter - , Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin (Author)
  • Robert Whelan - , Trinity College Dublin (Author)
  • Gunter Schumann - , Fudan University (Author)
  • Herta Flor - , Heidelberg University , University of Mannheim (Author)
  • Jean Luc Martinot - , École normale supérieure Paris-Saclay (Author)
  • Frauke Nees - , Heidelberg University , Kiel University (Author)


Objective: Adolescence is a critical period for circadian rhythm, with a strong shift toward eveningness around age 14. Also, eveningness in adolescence has been found to predict later onset of depressive symptoms. However, no previous study has investigated structural variations associated with chronotype in early adolescence and how this adds to the development of depressive symptoms. Method: Assessment of 128 community-based adolescents (51% girls) at age 14 and 19 years was performed. Using whole-brain voxel-based morphometry, baseline (at age 14) regional gray matter volumes (GMVs), follow-up (at age 19) regional GMVs, and longitudinal changes (between 14 and 19) associated with Morningness/Eveningness Scale in Children score and sleep habits at baseline were measured. The association of GMV with depressive symptoms at 19 years was studied, and the role of potential clinical and genetic factors as mediators and moderators was assessed. Results: Higher eveningness was associated with larger GMV in the right medial prefrontal cortex at ages 14 and 19 in the whole sample. GMV in this region related to depressive symptoms at age 19 in catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) Val/Val, but not in Met COMT, carriers. Larger GMV also was observed in the right fusiform gyrus at age 14, which was explained by later wake-up time during weekends. Conclusion: In adolescence, eveningness and its related sleep habits correlated with distinct developmental patterns. Eveningness was specifically associated with GMV changes in the medial prefrontal cortex; this could serve as a brain vulnerability factor for later self-reported depressive symptoms in COMT Val/Val carriers.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-58
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023

External IDs

PubMed 35714839
ORCID /0000-0001-5398-5569/work/150329521
ORCID /0000-0002-8493-6396/work/150330247


Sustainable Development Goals


  • MRI, adolescent, chronotype, gray matter, longitudinal, Depression/diagnostic imaging, Humans, Male, Young Adult, Brain/diagnostic imaging, Sleep, Adolescent, Catechol O-Methyltransferase/genetics, Female, Surveys and Questionnaires, Chronotype