Neuroplasticity may have a core role in the pathophysiology of major depressive disorder (MDD), a concept supported by experimental studies that found that excessive cortisol secretion and/or excessive production of inflammatory cytokines impairs neuronal plasticity and neurogenesis in the hippocampus. The objective of this study was to examine how changes in the glucocorticoid and inflammatory systems may affect hippocampal volumes in MDD. A multimodal approach with structural neuroimaging of hippocampus and amygdala, measurement of peripheral inflammatory proteins interleukin (IL)-6 and C-reactive protein (CRP), glucocorticoid receptor (GR) mRNA expression, and expression of glucocorticoid-inducible genes (glucocorticoid-inducible genes Leucin Zipper (GILZ) and glucocorticoid-inducible kinase-1 (SGK-1)) was used in 40 patients with MDD and 43 healthy controls (HC). Patients with MDD showed smaller hippocampal volumes and increased inflammatory proteins IL-6 and CRP compared with HC. Childhood maltreatment was associated with increased CRP. Patients with MDD, who had less expression of the glucocorticoid-inducible genes GILZ or SGK-1 had smaller hippocampal volumes. Regression analysis showed a strong positive effect of GILZ and SGK-1 mRNA expression, and further inverse effects of IL-6 concentration, on hippocampal volumes. These findings suggest that childhood maltreatment, peripheral inflammatory and glucocorticoid markers and hippocampal volume are interrelated factors in the pathophysiology of MDD. Glucocorticoid-inducible genes GILZ and SGK-1 might be promising candidate markers for hippocampal volume changes relevant for diseases like MDD. Further studies need to explore the possible clinical usefulness of such a blood biomarker, for example, for diagnosis or prediction of therapy response.
childhood maltreatment; gene expression; glucocorticoid; inflammation; major depressive disorder; neuroimaging
Major depressive disorder (MDD) is associated with behavioral and neurophysiological evidence for mood-congruent processing biases toward explicitly presented, emotionally-valenced stimuli. However, few studies have investigated such biases toward implicitly presented stimuli.
To investigate differential amygdala responses to sad, happy and neutral faces presented below the level of explicit conscious awareness using a backward masking task in unmedicated subjects with MDD and healthy controls.
Initial cross-sectional design followed by a longitudinal treatment trial using functional magnetic resonance imaging.
Psychiatric outpatient clinic at the National Institute of Mental Health.
Twenty-two unmedicated, currently-depressed subjects with MDD (dMDD), 16 unmedicated subjects with MDD in full remission (rMDD), and 25 healthy controls (HC).
Ten dMDD subjects underwent 8 weeks of antidepressant treatment with the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, sertraline.
Main Outcome Measures
Amygdala region-of-interest and whole brain analyses evaluated the hemodynamic response during exposure to masked-sad versus masked-happy faces, to masked-sad versus neutral faces, and to masked-happy versus neutral faces.
dMDD subjects showed greater amygdala responses than HC to masked-sad faces, while HC subjects showed greater amygdala responses to masked-happy faces. The bias toward sad faces also was evident in the rMDD relative to HC subjects and did not differ between the dMDD and rMDD subjects. This processing bias reversed toward the normative pattern in the dMDD subjects following sertraline treatment.
Emotional processing biases occur in the amygdala to sad faces presented below conscious awareness in currently-depressed or remitted-MDD subjects and to happy faces in controls. By influencing the salience of social stimuli, mood-congruent processing biases in the amygdala may contribute to dysfunction in conscious perceptions and social interactions in MDD. Our data suggest, however, that the negative bias resolves and a positive bias develops in MDD subjects during selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor treatment.
This study aimed to investigate the single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of neuropeptide Y (NPY) and major depressive disorder (MDD) in Chinese Han population.
Prospective and randomized studies were carried out.
A total of 700 patients (324 male and 376 female; mean age = 40±14.9 years) with depression who met the diagnostic criteria of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) and 673 healthy controls (313 male and 360 female; mean age = 41.9±17.2 years) were used to investigate the relationship between SNPs of NPY and the pathogenesis of MDD. A total of 417 patients (195 male and 202 female; mean age = 36±14.2 years) diagnosed with MDD and 314 healthy controls (153 male and 161 female; mean age = 37.9±14.2 years) from Chinese Han population were used to verify the relationship between SNPs of NPY and the pathogenesis of MDD.
Intervention and outcome
Ligase detection reactions were performed to detect the SNP sites of NPY. A series of statistical methods was carried out to investigate the correlation between the NPY gene SNP and MDD.
Statistical analysis showed a significant correlation between the SNP sites rs16139 in NPY and the morbidity of depression. Patients with MDD have a lower frequency of A-allele in rs16139 in replicate samples from Chinese Han population. However, the frequency varied between male and female patients.
The gene polymorphism loci rs16139 was closely related to MDD in Chinese Han population.
The prevalence of suicidal ideation and predictors for suicidal ideation among Japanese workers is unknown, although a previous study reported a 30% prevalence rate of suicidal ideation in a psychosomatic clinical setting. Hence, we evaluated the prevalence of suicidal ideation and its relationship with depressive symptoms among Japanese workers.
For this purpose, a cross-sectional design was used. Major depressive disorder (MDD) and suicidal ideation in 1266 workers (1100 men and 166 women, aged 20–69 years) were assessed through clinical interviews conducted in accordance with the fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
A total of 34 and 70 participants were diagnosed with suicidal ideation and MDD, respectively. Suicidal ideation was especially prevalent in 40-year-olds to 49-year-olds. Six of the eight symptoms of MDD (depressive mood, loss of interest, weight loss, psychomotor agitation, worthlessness and concentration loss) were related to suicidal ideation. Depressive mood had the strongest relationship with suicidal ideation, followed by worthlessness and concentration loss. Worthlessness had the highest area under the curve in predicting suicidal ideation, followed by concentration loss and depressive mood.
We conclude that MDD symptoms—particularly depressive mood, worthlessness and concentration loss—are potential predictors of suicidal ideation in Japanese workers.
Pain and depression often occur together. Pain is both a sensation and an affective experience. Similarly, depression is associated frequently with somatic symptoms as well as emotional dysphoria. Existing evidence indicates that major depressive disorder (MDD) may be associated with altered pain processing. However, the extent to which alterations in experimentally controlled heat pain sensations are related to increased affective bias in MDD is unknown. This psychophysical study examined the hypothesis that young adults with MDD would show increased affective bias to painful and non-painful experimental heat stimuli, as evidenced by an increased responsiveness to warm and hot temperatures.
Graded non-noxious and noxious heat stimuli were delivered randomly with a thermode applied to the volar surface of the left arm of 15 unmedicated subjects with current MDD and 15 age- and gender-matched healthy comparison subjects. MDD and non-MDD subjects rated the intensity and unpleasantness of all stimuli.
Two main results were observed. Firstly, MDD relative to non-MDD subjects showed decreased heat pain thresholds. Secondly, a significantly increased affective bias (= unpleasantness/intensity) was observed in MDD subjects, particularly over the range of non-noxious heat stimuli. This bias was independent of the change in sensory pain thresholds.
These findings represent corroborative evidence of abnormal affective heat pain processing in young adults with MDD, and suggest that MDD is associated with “emotional allodynia”, a qualitatively altered negative emotional response to normally non-aversive thermal stimuli.
psychophysics; allodynia; MDD; thermode; heat; nociception
There is evidence that heart rate variability (HRV) is reduced in major depressive disorder (MDD), although there is debate about whether this effect is caused by medication or the disorder per se. MDD is associated with a two to fourfold increase in the risk of cardiac mortality, and HRV is a robust predictor of cardiac mortality; determining a direct link between HRV and not only MDD, but common comorbid anxiety disorders, will point to psychiatric indicators for cardiovascular risk reduction.
To determine in physically healthy, unmedicated patients whether (1) HRV is reduced in MDD relative to controls, and (2) HRV reductions are driven by MDD alone, comorbid generalized anxiety disorder (GAD, characterized by anxious anticipation), or comorbid panic and posttraumatic stress disorders (PD/PTSD, characterized by anxious arousal).
Design, Setting, and Patients
A case-control study in 2006 and 2007 on 73 MDD patients, including 24 without anxiety comorbidity, 24 with GAD, and 14 with PD/PTSD. Seventy-three MDD and 94 healthy age- and sex-matched control participants were recruited from the general community. Participants had no history of drug addiction, alcoholism, brain injury, loss of consciousness, stroke, neurological disorder, or serious medical conditions. There were no significant differences between the four groups in age, gender, BMI, or alcohol use.
Main Outcome Measures
HRV was calculated from electrocardiography under a standardized short-term resting state condition.
HRV was reduced in MDD relative to controls, an effect associated with a medium effect size. MDD participants with comorbid generalized anxiety disorder displayed the greatest reductions in HRV relative to controls, an effect associated with a large effect size.
Unmedicated, physically healthy MDD patients with and without comorbid anxiety had reduced HRV. Those with comorbid GAD showed the greatest reductions. Implications for cardiovascular risk reduction strategies in otherwise healthy patients with psychiatric illness are discussed.
Major depressive disorder (MDD) is characterized by impaired reward processing, possibly due to dysfunction in the basal ganglia. However, few neuroimaging studies of depression have distinguished between anticipatory and consummatory phases of reward processing. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and a task that dissociates anticipatory and consummatory phases of reward processing, the authors tested the hypothesis that MDD participants would show reduced reward-related responses in basal ganglia structures.
A monetary incentive delay task was presented to 30 unmedicated MDD subjects and 31 healthy comparison subjects during fMRI scanning. Whole-brain analyses focused on neural responses to reward-predicting cues and rewarding outcomes (i.e., monetary gains). Secondary analyses focused on the relationship between anhedonic symptoms and basal ganglia volumes.
Relative to comparison subjects, MDD participants showed significantly weaker responses to gains in the left nucleus accumbens and bilateral caudate. Group differences in these regions were specific to rewarding outcomes and did not generalize to neutral or negative outcomes, although relatively reduced responses to monetary penalties in MDD emerged in other caudate regions. By contrast, evidence for group differences during reward anticipation was weaker, although MDD subjects showed reduced activation to reward cues in a small sector of the left posterior putamen. Among MDD subjects, anhedonic symptoms and depression severity were associated with reduced bilateral caudate volume.
These results indicate that basal ganglia dysfunction in MDD may affect the consummatory phase of reward processing. Additionally, morphometric results suggest that anhedonia in MDD is related to caudate volume.
Increased activity of the habenula has been implicated in the etiology of major depressive disorder (MDD), in which reductions in habenula volume are present at postmortem. We conducted the first MRI analysis of habenula volume in MDD and bipolar disorder (BD).
High-resolution images (resolution≈0.4mm3) were acquired using a 3T scanner, and a pulse sequence optimized for tissue contrast resolution. The habenula was manually segmented by one rater blind to diagnosis. Seventy-four healthy controls (HC) were compared to both medicated (lithium/divalproex, n=15) and unmedicated, depressed BD (n=22) patients, unmedicated, depressed MDD patients (n=28), and unmedicated MDD patients in remission (RD, n=32).
The unmedicated BD patients displayed significantly smaller absolute (p<0.01) and normalized (p<0.05) habenula volumes than the HC subjects. In post hoc assessments analyzing males and females separately, the currently-depressed females with MDD had smaller absolute (p<0.05) habenula volumes than the healthy control females. None of the other psychiatric groups differed significantly from the HC group.
We provide further evidence for the involvement of the habenula in affective illness, but suggest that a reduction in volume may be more pronounced in unmedicated, depressed BD subjects and female, currently depressed MDD subjects. The habenula plays major roles in the long-term modification of monoamine transmission and behavioral responses to stress, and in the suppression of dopamine cell activity following the absence of an expected reward. A reduction in habenula volume may thus have functional consequences which contribute to the risk for developing affective disease.
major depressive disorder; bipolar disorder; habenula; magnetic resonance imaging; high resolution; lithium
Major depressive disorder (MDD) is characterized by impaired processing of negative information, possibly due to dysfunction in both, the bottom-up emotional network and top-down modulatory network. By acquiring functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) on a pain-anticipation task, we tested the hypothesis that individuals with MDD would show increased negative biasing that may be associated with reduced frontal connectivity. Thirty-one (15 females) unmedicated young adults with current MDD and 22 (11 females) healthy subjects with no history of MDD were recruited. Groups did not differ significantly in age, race, level of education, marital status or gender distribution. fMRI data were collected during an event-related pain-anticipation paradigm, during which subjects were cued to anticipate painful heat stimuli of high or low intensity. All temperature stimuli were applied to each subject's left forearm. We found that relative to healthy comparison subjects, participants with MDD showed significantly stronger responses to high versus low pain anticipation within right ventral anterior insula (AI), but overlapping response within right dorsal AI, which correlated positively with the depression symptoms severity in the MDD group. Functional connectivity analyses showed increased functional connectivity between dorsal insula and posterior thalamus and decreased functional connectivity between dorsal insula and the right inferior frontal gyrus in the MDD compared with the non-MDD group. Our results demonstrate that unmedicated individuals with current MDD compared with healthy never-depressed subjects show both differential and overlapping response within AI during anticipation of pain. Furthermore, the overlapping insular response is less regulated by frontal brain systems and is more subservient to affective processing regions in the posterior thalamus in MDD. These results support and provide functional validation of the co-occurring enhanced ‘bottom-up' and attenuated ‘top-down' processing of salient, unpleasant emotional information in MDD.
depression; emotion; fMRI; imaging; insula; modulation
Depression is characterized by executive dysfunctions and abnormal reactions to errors; however, little is known about the brain mechanisms that underlie these deficits.
To examine whether abnormal reactions to errors in patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) are associated with exaggerated paralimbic activation and/or a failure to recruit subsequent cognitive control to account for mistakes in performance.
Between February 15, 2005, and January 19, 2006, we recorded 128-channel event-related potentials while study participants performed a Stroop task, modified to incorporate performance feedback.
Patients with MDD and healthy comparison subjects were recruited from the general community.
Study participants were 20 unmedicated patients with MDD and 20 demographically matched comparison subjects.
Main Outcome Measures
The error-related negativity and error positivity were analyzed through scalp and source localization analyses. Functional connectivity analyses were conducted to investigate group differences in the spatiotemporal dynamics of brain mechanisms that underlie error processing.
Relative to comparison subjects, patients with MDD displayed significantly lower accuracy after incorrect responses, larger error-related negativity, and higher current density in the rostral anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and medial prefrontal cortex (PFC) (Brodmann area 10/32) 80 milliseconds after committing an error. Functional connectivity analyses revealed that for the comparison subjects, but not the patients with MDD, rostral ACC and medial PFC activation 80 milliseconds after committing an error predicted left dorsolateral PFC (Brodmann area 8/9) activation 472 milliseconds after committing an error.
Unmedicated patients with MDD showed reduced accuracy and potentiated error-related negativity immediately after committing errors, highlighting dysfunctions in the automatic detection of unfavorable performance outcomes. New analytic procedures allowed us to show that abnormal reaction to committing errors was accompanied by hyperactivation in rostral ACC and medial PFC regions 80 milliseconds after committing errors and a failure to recruit dorsolateral PFC-based cognitive control. Future studies are warranted to investigate whether these dysfunctions might foster the emergence and maintenance of negative processing biases and thus increase vulnerability to depression.
Individuals with major depressive disorder (MDD) often exhibit impaired executive function, particularly in experimental tasks that involve response conflict and require adaptive behavioral adjustments. Prior research suggests that these deficits might be due to dysfunction within frontocingulate pathways implicated in response conflict monitoring and the recruitment of cognitive control. However, the temporal unfolding of conflict monitoring impairments in MDD remains poorly understood. To address this issue, we recorded 128-channel event-related potentials while 20 unmedicated participants with MDD and 20 demographically matched, healthy controls performed a Stroop task. Compared to healthy controls, MDD subjects showed larger Stroop interference effects and reduced N2 and N450 amplitudes. Source localization analyses at the time of maximal N450 activity revealed that MDD subjects had significantly reduced dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC; Brodmann area 24/32) and left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (Brodmann area 10/46) activation to incongruent relative to congruent trials. Consistent with the heterogeneous nature of depression, follow-up analyses revealed that depressed participants with the lowest level of conflict-related dACC activation 620 ms post-stimulus were characterized by the largest Stroop interference effects (relatively increased slowing and reduced accuracy for incongruent trials). Conversely, MDD participants with relatively stronger dACC recruitment did not differ from controls in terms of interference effects. These findings suggest that for some, but not all individuals, MDD is associated with impaired performance in trials involving competition among different response options, and reduced recruitment of frontocingulate pathways implicated in conflict monitoring and cognitive control.
Depression; Action Monitoring; Anterior Cingulate Cortex; Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex; Cognitive Control; Executive Function
Major depressive disorder (MDD) is associated with immune system dysfunction and disruption of multiple circadian systems. Adiponectin is an adipocytokine with anti-inflammatory and anti-atherogenic effects. Circulating concentrations are inversely related to adiposity and risks of metabolic syndrome and diabetes mellitus. Our goals were to: A) establish whether premenopausal women with MDD exhibit decreased plasma adiponectin concentrations and/or disruption of circadian adiponectin rhythmicity; B) assess whether there is a relationship between adiponectin and MDD; C) explore the temporal relationships among adiponectin, leptin, ACTH and cortisol secretion.
Case-control study of community-dwelling premenopausal women with MDD and age- and BMI-matched-control subjects (N=23/group). Main outcome measures were circulating concentrations of adiponectin, leptin, ACTH, and cortisol measured hourly for 24h.
Women with MDD had approximately 30% lower mean 24h concentrations of adiponectin than did control subjects. Adiponectin was inversely related to depression severity and total duration of disease, suggesting a causal link. In contrast, nocturnal leptin concentrations were higher in the MDD versus control groups. Leptin was inversely related to cortisol and adiponectin both in subjects with depression and in control subjects. In cross-correlation analyses, the relationship between ACTH and cortisol was stronger in women with MDD than in control subjects, consistent with HPA-axis activation in MDD.
Reduced daily adiponectin production may increase the risk of diabetes mellitus, and elevated leptin may contribute to osteoporosis, in premenopausal women with MDD.
women’s health; psychosomatic medicine; antidepressants; stress system; circadian rhythmicity; inflammation; adipocytokines: ACTH; cortisol: insulin resistance, cardiovascular risk; osteoporosis; osteopenia
This study aimed to investigate the association of galanin (GAL) gene and the development of depression in the Chinese Han population.
A total of 700 patients with depression who met the diagnostic criteria of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) and 673 healthy controls were used in this study. Ligase detection reactions were performed on 10 selected single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) sites in the GAL gene. A series of statistical methods were carried out to investigate the correlation between the GAL gene SNP and the patient susceptibility to depression.
The SNPs of rs694066 in the GAL gene showed a positive correlation with MDD. Compared with the healthy controls, lower frequency of G/G genotype and higher frequency of A/G genotype were observed in rs694066 in MDD patients, a lower frequency of G-allele and higher frequency of A-allele were observed in rs694066. These correlations were more pronounced in the 376 female patients and 360 female control subjects than in the 324 male patients and 313 healthy male subjects.
This study investigated the relationship between the GAL gene SNP and the susceptibility to depression in the Chinese Han population. The findings clearly indicate that the GAL gene polymorphism is closely correlated to the incidence of depression in the Chinese Han female patients.
Major depressive disorder (MDD) shows increased coronary artery disease (CAD) risk of unknown mechanism(s). MDD is more common in women than men; CAD diagnosis can be difficult in women. Elevations of the inflammatory markers C-reactive protein (CRP) and serum amyloid A (SAA) predict increased CAD risk in populations; few data on these markers exist in MDD, particularly in remitted patients.
We measured fasting am serum CRP (high sensitivity, CRPhs) and SAA in 18 unmedicated, remitted women with MDD (mean age 41± (SD)12, body mass index (BMI) 25.2 ± 4.1 kg/m2) and 18 BMI-matched healthy control subjects (age 36 ± 10, BMI 25.3 ± 3.8 kg/m2) on 2 separate occasions, ≥ 6 days apart.
Repeat SAA and CRPhs measurements strongly correlated across study days (SAA: r = .83, p< .001; CRPhs: r = .94, p < .001). Both SAA (5.30 ± 3.39 vs. 2.84 ± 1.87 mg/L, p < .005) and CRPhs (3.23 ± 3.17 vs. 1.12 ± 1.45 mg/L; p < .01) were significantly elevated in MDD women versus controls.
Elevated SAA and CRPhs in remitted, unmedicated women with MDD indicate a pro-inflammatory state unrelated to current depressive symptoms or pharmacotherapy. These findings suggest that inflammatory mechanisms may in part underlie findings of increased CAD risk in MDD.
Anhedonia, the lack of reactivity to pleasurable stimuli, is a cardinal feature of depression that has received renewed interest as a potential endophenotype of this debilitating disease. The goal of the present study was to test the hypothesis that individuals with major depression are characterized by blunted reward responsiveness, particularly when anhedonic symptoms are prominent.
A probabilistic reward task rooted within signal-detection theory was utilized to objectively assess hedonic capacity in 23 unmedicated subjects meeting DSM-IV criteria for major depressive disorder (MDD) and 25 matched control subjects recruited from the community. Hedonic capacity was defined as reward responsiveness — i.e., the participants’ propensity to modulate behavior as a function of reward.
Compared to controls, MDD subjects showed significantly reduced reward responsiveness. Trial-by-trial probability analyses revealed that MDD subjects, while responsive to delivery of single rewards, were impaired at integrating reinforcement history over time and expressing a response bias toward a more frequently rewarded cue in the absence of immediate reward. This selective impairment correlated with self-reported anhedonic symptoms, even after considering anxiety symptoms and general distress.
These findings indicate that MDD is characterized by an impaired tendency to modulate behavior as a function of prior reinforcements, and provides initial clues about which aspects of hedonic processing might be dysfunctional in depression.
Anhedonia; Depression; Reward Processing; Endophenotype; Affect
Dysfunction of serotonergic neurotransmission has been implicated in the etiopathogenesis of major depression (MDD) and alcohol use disorders (AUD). To compare serotonin function in MDD with co-occurring AUD (MDD/AUD), MDD without co-occurring AUD (MDD only) and healthy controls (HC) we sought to study differences in prolactin responses to fenfluramine administration in patients with MDD/AUD, patients with MDD only and HC. In all, 169 subjects (62 MDD/AUD, 75 MDD only, and 32 HC) were entered into the study. Controlling for gender, prolactin responses were lower in the MDD/AUD group compared to the MDD only or the HC group. Controlling for gender and aggression, prolactin responses in the MDD/AUD group remained significantly lower compared to the HC group but the difference between the MDD/AUD and the MDD only groups disappeared. The difference in prolactin responses between MDD/AUD and MDD only could be attributed to higher aggression scores in the MDD/AUD group compared to the MDD group.
Serotonin; Prolactin; Fenfluramine; Depression; Alcohol; Aggression
Targeted metabolomics provides an approach to quantify metabolites involved in specific molecular pathways. We applied an electrochemistry-based, targeted metabolomics platform to define changes in tryptophan, tyrosine, purine and related pathways in the depressed and remitted phases of major depressive disorder (MDD). Biochemical profiles in the cerebrospinal fluid of unmedicated depressed (n = 14; dMDD) or remitted MDD subjects (n = 14; rMDD) were compared against those in healthy controls (n = 18; HC). The rMDD group showed differences in tryptophan and tyrosine metabolism relative to the other groups. The rMDD group also had higher methionine levels and larger methionine-to-glutathione ratios than the other groups, implicating methylation and oxidative stress pathways. The dMDD sample showed nonsignificant differences in the same direction in several of the metabolic branches assessed. The reductions in metabolites associated with tryptophan and tyrosine pathways in rMDD may relate to the vulnerability this population shows for developing depressive symptoms under tryptophan or catecholamine depletion.
Bipolar disorder (BD) and major depressive disorder (MDD) are associated with cognitive dysfunction in older age during both acute mood episodes and remitted states. The purpose of this report is to investigate for the first time the similarities and differences in cognitive function of older adults with BD and MDD that may shed light on mechanisms of cognitive decline.
A total of 165 subjects with BD (n = 43) or MDD (n = 122) ages ≥65 years [mean (SD) 74.2 (6.2)] were assessed when euthymic using comprehensive measures of cognitive function and cognitive-instrumental activities of daily living (C-IADLs). Test results were standardized using a group of mentally healthy individuals (n = 92) of comparable age and education level.
Both subjects with BD and MDD were impaired across all cognitive domains compared to controls, most prominently in Information Processing Speed/Executive Function. Despite the protective effects of having higher education and lower vascular burden, BD subjects were more impaired across all cognitive domains compared with MDD subjects. Subjects with BD and MDD did not differ significantly in C-IADLs.
In older age, patients with BD have worse overall cognitive function than patients with MDD. Our findings suggest that factors intrinsic to BD appear to be related to cognitive deterioration and support the understanding that BD is associated with cognitive decline.
aged; bipolar disorder; cognition; IADLs; major depressive disorder
This study aimed to test the hypothesis that the loudness dependence of auditory evoked potentials (LDAEP) can be used to predict the presence of bipolarity in patients with major depressive episodes.
A cohort of 61 patients who met the criteria for major depressive disorder (MDD) following diagnosis using Axis I of the fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-text revision, and who had no history of hypomanic or manic episodes was included in this study. The patients were stratified into two subgroups based on whether or not they achieved a positive score for the Korean versions of the Mood Disorder Questionnaire (K-MDQ). The LDAEP was evaluated by measuring the auditory event-related potentials before beginning medication with serotonergic agents.
The Barratt Impulsiveness Scale (BIS) score was also higher for the positive screening group (81.24±11.87) than for the negative screening group (73.30±14.92; p=0.039, independent t-test). However, the LDAEP, Beck Depression Inventory, Hamilton Depression Rating Scale, Beck Hopelessness Scale (BHS), and Hamilton Anxiety Scale scores did not differ significantly between them. When binary logistic regression analysis was carried, the relationship between the positive or negative subgroups for K-MDQ and BIS or Beck Scale for Suicidal Ideation (BSS) score was also significant (respectively, p=0.017, p=0.038).
We found that LDAEP was not significantly different between depressive patients with and without bipolarity. However, our study has revealed the difference between two subgroups based on whether or not they achieved a positive score for the K-MDQ in BIS or BSS score.
LDAEP; Major depressive disorder; Bipolarity; Bipolar spectrum disorder
Prior studies have found abnormalities of functional brain asymmetry in patients having a major depressive disorder (MDD). This study aimed to replicate findings of reduced right hemisphere advantage for perceiving dichotic complex tones in depressed patients, and to determine whether patients having “pure” dysthymia show the same abnormality of perceptual asymmetry as MDD. It also examined gender differences in lateralization, and the extent to which abnormalities of perceptual asymmetry in depressed patients are dependent on gender. Unmedicated patients having either a MDD (n=96) or “pure” dysthymic disorder (n=42) and healthy controls (n=114) were tested on dichotic fused-words and complex-tone tests. Patient and control groups differed in right hemisphere advantage for complex tones, but not left hemisphere advantage for words. Reduced right hemisphere advantage for tones was equally present in MDD and dysthymia, but was more evident among depressed men than depressed women. Also, healthy men had greater hemispheric asymmetry than healthy women for both words and tones, whereas this gender difference was not seen for depressed patients. Dysthymia and MDD share a common abnormality of hemispheric asymmetry for dichotic listening.
Dysthymia; major depression; hemispheric laterality; dichotic listening; gender
Previous neuromorphometric investigations of major depressive disorder (MDD) have reported abnormalities in gray matter in several regions, although the results have been inconsistent across studies. Some discrepancies in the results across studies may reflect design limitations such as small sample sizes, whereas others may reflect biological variability that potentially manifests as differences in clinical course. For example, it remains unclear whether the abnormalities found in persistently depressed MDD subjects extend to or persist in patients who experience prolonged remission. The aim of the present study was to investigate gray matter (GM) differences in unmedicated, currently-depressed participants (dMDD) and unmedicated, currently-remitted (rMDD) participants with MDD compared to healthy controls (HC).
The GM density and volume was compared across groups using voxel-based morphometry, a quantitative neuroanatomical technique, and high-resolution MRI images from 107 HC, 58 dMDD and 27 rMDD subjects.
Relative to the HC group the dMDD group had reduced GM in the dorsal anterolateral (DALPFC), the dorsomedial (DMPFC) and the ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (VLPFC). Relative to the rMDD group the dMDD group showed reduced GM in the DALPFC, the VLPFC, the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), the precuneus and the inferior parietal lobule. No regions were identified in which the rMDD group showed significantly lower GM compared to the HC group after p-values were corrected for the number of comparisons performed.
In unmedicated patients in the depressed phase of MDD, we found evidence of morphometric abnormalities in DALPFC and in medial prefrontal cortical regions belonging to the visceromotor network. These findings, along with the absence of GM abnormalities in the remitted sample imply a possible link between greater GM tissue and better clinical outcome. Consistent with other neuroimaging and post-mortem neuropathological studies of MDD, we also found evidence of decreased white matter in patients with dMDD and rMDD.
Voxel-based morphometry (VBM); remission; dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC); gray matter; clinical outcome
Major depressive disorder (MDD) has been associated with adverse medical consequences, including cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis. Patients with MDD may be classified as having melancholic, atypical, or undifferentiated features. The goal of the present study was to assess whether these clinical subtypes of depression have different endocrine and metabolic features and consequently, varying medical outcomes.
Premenopausal women, ages 21 to 45 years, with MDD (N = 89) and healthy controls (N = 44) were recruited for a prospective study of bone turnover. Women with MDD were classified as having melancholic (N = 51), atypical (N = 16), or undifferentiated (N = 22) features. Outcome measures included: metabolic parameters, body composition, bone mineral density (BMD), and 24 hourly sampling of plasma adrenocorticotropin (ACTH), cortisol, and leptin.
Compared with control subjects, women with undifferentiated and atypical features of MDD exhibited greater BMI, waist/hip ratio, and whole body and abdominal fat mass. Women with undifferentiated MDD characteristics also had higher lipid and fasting glucose levels in addition to a greater prevalence of low BMD at the femoral neck compared to controls. Elevated ACTH levels were demonstrated in women with atypical features of depression, whereas higher mean 24-hour leptin levels were observed in the melancholic subgroup.
Pre-menopausal women with various features of MDD exhibit metabolic, endocrine, and BMD features that may be associated with different health consequences.
The pathophysiologic mechanism of major depressive disorder (MDD) has been consistently associated with altered catecholaminergic function, especially with decreased dopamine neurotransmission, by various sources of largely indirect evidence. An instructive paradigm for more directly investigating the relationship between catecholaminergic function and depression has involved the mood response to experimental catecholamine depletion (CD).
To determine whether catecholaminergic dysfunction represents a trait abnormality in MDD and to identify brain circuitry abnormalities involved in the pathophysiologic mechanism of MDD.
Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover, single-site experimental trial.
Psychiatric outpatient clinic.
Fifteen unmedicated subjects with MDD in full remission (hereinafter referred to as RMDD subjects) and 13 healthy controls.
Induction of CD by oral administration of α-methylparatyrosine. Sham depletion used identical capsules containing hydrous lactose.
Main Outcome Measures
Quantitative positron emission tomography of regional cerebral glucose utilization to study the neural effects of CD and sham depletion. Behavioral assessments included the Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale and the Snaith-Hamilton Pleasure Scale (anhedonia).
Depressive and anhedonic symptoms increased during CD to a greater extent in RMDD subjects than in controls. In both groups, CD increased metabolism in the anteroventral striatum and decreased metabolism in the orbital gyri. In a limbic-cortical-striatal-pallidal-thalamic network previously implicated in MDD, composed of the ventromedial frontal polar cortex, midcingulate and subgenual anterior cingulate cortex, temporopolar cortex, ventral striatum, and thalamus, metabolism increased in RMDD subjects but decreased or remained unchanged in controls. Metabolic changes induced by CD in the left ventromedial frontal polar cortex correlated positively with depressive symptoms, whereas changes in the anteroventral striatum were correlated with anhedonic symptoms.
This study provides direct evidence for catecholaminergic dysfunction as a trait abnormality in MDD. It demonstrates that depressive and anhedonic symptoms as a result of decreased catecholaminergic neurotransmission are related to elevated activity within the limbic-cortical-striatal-pallidal-thalamic circuitry.
Health-related quality of life (HRQOL) can be significantly impaired by the presence of chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease (CVD) and major depressive disorder (MDD). The aim of this paper was to (1) identify differences in HRQOL between individuals with CVD, MDD, or both, compared to a healthy reference group, (2) establish whether the influence of co-morbid MDD and CVD on HRQOL is additive or synergistic and (3) determine the way in which depression severity interacts with CVD to influence overall HRQOL.
Population-based data from the 2007 Australian National Survey of Mental Health and Well-being (NSMHWB) (n = 8841) were used to compare HRQOL of individuals with MDD and CVD, MDD but not CVD, CVD but not MDD, with a healthy reference group. HRQOL was measured using the Assessment of Quality of Life (AQOL). MDD was identified using the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI 3.0).
Of all four groups, individuals with co-morbid CVD and depression reported the greatest deficits in AQOL utility scores (Coef: −0.32, 95% CI: −0.40, −0.23), after adjusting for covariates. Those with MDD only (Coef: −0.27, 95% CI: −0.30, −0.24) and CVD only (Coef: −0.08, 95% CI: −0.11, −0.05) also reported reduced AQOL utility scores. Second, the influence of MDD and CVD on HRQOL was shown to be additive, rather than synergistic. Third, a significant dose–response relationship was observed between depression severity and HRQOL. However, CVD and depression severity appeared to act independently of each other in impacting HRQOL.
HRQOL is greatly impaired in individuals with co-morbid MDD and CVD; these conditions appear to influence HRQOL in an additive fashion. HRQOL alters with depression severity, therefore treating depression and improving HRQOL is of clinical importance.
Health-related quality of life; Depression; Cardiovascular disease; Dose–response; Synergistic
Hypersomnolence in major depressive disorder (MDD) plays an important role in the natural history of the disorder, but the basis of hypersomnia in MDD is poorly understood. Slow wave activity (SWA) has been associated with sleep homeostasis, as well as sleep restoration and maintenance, and may be altered in MDD. Therefore, we conducted a post-hoc study that utilized high density electroencephalography (hdEEG) to test the hypothesis that MDD subjects with hypersomnia (HYS+) would have decreased SWA relative to age and sex-matched MDD subjects without hypersomnia (HYS−) and healthy controls (n=7 for each group). After correcting for multiple comparisons using statistical non-parametric mapping, HYS+ subjects demonstrated significantly reduced parieto-occipital all-night SWA relative to HYS− subjects. Our results suggest hypersomnolence may be associated with topographic reductions in SWA in MDD. Further research using adequately powered prospective design is indicated to confirm these findings.
sleep; depression; spectral analysis