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Objectives: There is a well-known association between memory impairment and major depressive disorder (MDD). Additionally, recent studies are also showing resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rsMRI) abnormalities in active and remitted MDD. However, no studies to date have examined both rs connectivity and memory performance in early course remitted MDD, nor the relationship between connectivity and semantically cued episodic memory. Methods: The rsMRI data from two 3.0 Tesla GE scanners were collected from 34 unmedicated young adults with remitted MDD (rMDD) and 23 healthy controls (HCs) between 18 and 23 years of age using bilateral seeds in the hippocampus. Participants also completed a semantically cued list-learning test, and their performance was correlated with hippocampal seed-based rsMRI. Regression models were also used to predict connectivity patterns from memory performance. Results: After correcting for sex, rMDD subjects performed worse than HCs on the total number of words recalled and recognized. rMDD demonstrated significant in-network hypoactivation between the hippocampus and multiple fronto-temporal regions, and multiple extra-network hyperconnectivities between the hippocampus and fronto-parietal regions when compared to HCs. Memory performance negatively predicted connectivity in HCs and positively predicted connectivity in rMDD. Conclusions Even when individuals with a history of MDD are no longer displaying active depressive symptoms, they continue to demonstrate worse memory performance, disruptions in hippocampal connectivity, and a differential relationship between episodic memory and hippocampal connectivity. (JINS, 2016, 22, 225–239)
Objectives: Individuals with major depressive disorder (MDD) demonstrate poorer learning and memory skills relative to never-depressed comparisons (NDC). Previous studies report decreased volume and disrupted function of frontal lobes and hippocampi in MDD during memory challenge. However, it has been difficult to dissociate contributions of short-term memory and executive functioning to memory difficulties from those that might be attributable to long-term memory deficits. Methods: Adult males (MDD, n=19; NDC, n=22) and females (MDD, n=23; NDC, n=19) performed the Semantic List Learning Task (SLLT) during functional magnetic resonance imaging. The SLLT Encoding condition consists of 15 lists, each containing 14 words. After each list, a Distractor condition occurs, followed by cued Silent Rehearsal instructions. Post-scan recall and recognition were collected. Groups were compared using block (Encoding-Silent Rehearsal) and event-related (Words Recalled) models. Results: MDD displayed lower recall relative to NDC. NDC displayed greater activation in several temporal, frontal, and parietal regions, for both Encoding-Silent Rehearsal and the Words Recalled analyses. Groups also differed in activation patterns in regions of the Papez circuit in planned analyses. The majority of activation differences were not related to performance, presence of medications, presence of comorbid anxiety disorder, or decreased gray matter volume in MDD. Conclusions: Adults with MDD exhibit memory difficulties during a task designed to reduce the contribution of individual variability from short-term memory and executive functioning processes, parallel with decreased activation in memory and executive functioning circuits. Ecologically valid long-term memory tasks are imperative for uncovering neural correlates of memory performance deficits in adults with MDD. (JINS, 2016, 22, 412–425)
Techniques such as positron emission tomography and single photon emission computed tomography allow for the imaging of neurotransmitter receptors and transporters in the brain. These tools have been used to investigate serotonergic, dopaminergic, and opioidergic function in healthy subjects as well as in patients with major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, and other mood disorders. Pharmacologic challenges, such as amphetamine challenge, and physiologic stressors, such as pain challenge, have been used to further examine the function of these neurotransmitter systems. Neuroimaging of patient populations before and after medication treatment may be useful to understand changes in neurotransmission that accompany disease remission. As new radiotracers with higher selectivity for the various receptors and transporters are developed, imaging techniques may provide new insights into the pathophysiolagy of mood disorders, leading to improved diagnosis and treatment.
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