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Ketamine is a rapidly-acting antidepressant treatment with robust response rates. Previous studies have reported that serial ketamine therapy modulates resting state functional connectivity in several large-scale networks, though it remains unknown whether variations in brain structure, function, and connectivity impact subsequent treatment success. We used a data-driven approach to determine whether pretreatment multimodal neuroimaging measures predict changes along symptom dimensions of depression following serial ketamine infusion.
Patients with depression (n = 60) received structural, resting state functional, and diffusion MRI scans before treatment. Depressive symptoms were assessed using the 17-item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS-17), the Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology (IDS-C), and the Rumination Response Scale (RRS) before and 24 h after patients received four (0.5 mg/kg) infusions of racemic ketamine over 2 weeks. Nineteen unaffected controls were assessed at similar timepoints. Random forest regression models predicted symptom changes using pretreatment multimodal neuroimaging and demographic measures.
Two HDRS-17 subscales, the HDRS-6 and core mood and anhedonia (CMA) symptoms, and the RRS: reflection (RRSR) scale were predicted significantly with 19, 27, and 1% variance explained, respectively. Increased right medial prefrontal cortex/anterior cingulate and posterior insula (PoI) and lower kurtosis of the superior longitudinal fasciculus predicted reduced HDRS-6 and CMA symptoms following treatment. RRSR change was predicted by global connectivity of the left posterior cingulate, left insula, and right superior parietal lobule.
Our findings support that connectivity of the anterior default mode network and PoI may serve as potential biomarkers of antidepressant outcomes for core depressive symptoms.
Subanesthetic ketamine infusion therapy can produce fast-acting antidepressant effects in patients with major depression. How single and repeated ketamine treatment modulates the whole-brain functional connectome to affect clinical outcomes remains uncharacterized.
Data-driven whole brain functional connectivity (FC) analysis was used to identify the functional connections modified by ketamine treatment in patients with major depressive disorder (MDD). MDD patients (N = 61, mean age = 38, 19 women) completed baseline resting-state (RS) functional magnetic resonance imaging and depression symptom scales. Of these patients, n = 48 and n = 51, completed the same assessments 24 h after receiving one and four 0.5 mg/kg intravenous ketamine infusions. Healthy controls (HC) (n = 40, 24 women) completed baseline assessments with no intervention. Analysis of RS FC addressed effects of diagnosis, time, and remitter status.
Significant differences (p < 0.05, corrected) in RS FC were observed between HC and MDD at baseline in the somatomotor network and between association and default mode networks. These disruptions in FC in MDD patients trended toward control patterns with ketamine treatment. Furthermore, following serial ketamine infusions, significant decreases in FC were observed between the cerebellum and salience network (SN) (p < 0.05, corrected). Patient remitters showed increased FC between the cerebellum and the striatum prior to treatment that decreased following treatment, whereas non-remitters showed the opposite pattern.
Results support that ketamine treatment leads to neurofunctional plasticity between distinct neural networks that are shown as disrupted in MDD patients. Cortico-striatal-cerebellar loops that encompass the SN could be a potential biomarker for ketamine treatment.
Neuroimaging studies have indicated that prenatal alcohol exposure is associated with alterations in the structure of specific brain regions in children. However, the temporal and regional specificity of such changes and their behavioural consequences are less known. Here we explore the integrity of regional white matter microstructure in infants with in utero exposure to alcohol, shortly after birth.
Twenty-eight alcohol-exposed and 28 healthy unexposed infants were imaged using diffusion tensor imaging sequences to evaluate white matter integrity using validated tract-based spatial statistics analysis methods. Second, diffusion values were extracted for group comparisons by regions of interest. Differences in fractional anisotropy (FA), mean diffusivity (MD), axial diffusivity (AD) and radial diffusivity were compared between groups and associations with measures from the Dubowitz neonatal neurobehavioural assessment were examined.
Lower AD values (p<0.05) were observed in alcohol-exposed infants in the right superior longitudinal fasciculus compared with non-exposed infants. Altered FA and MD values in alcohol-exposed neonates in the right inferior cerebellar were associated with abnormal neonatal neurobehaviour.
These exploratory data suggest that prenatal alcohol exposure is associated with reduced white matter microstructural integrity even early in the neonatal period. The association with clinical measures reinforces the likely clinical significance of this finding. The location of the findings is remarkably consistent with previously reported studies of white matter structural deficits in older children with a diagnosis of foetal alcohol spectrum disorders.