Working-memory fMRI reveals cingulate hyperactivation in euthymic major depression

Schoing, Sonja, Zwitserlood, Pienie, Engelien, Almut, Behnken, Andreas, Kugel, Harald, Schiffbauer, Hagen, Lipina, Katharina, Pachur, Christine, Kersting, Anette, Dannlowski, Udo, Baune, Bernhard T., Zwanzger, Peter, Reker, Thomas, Heindel, Walter, Arolt, Volker, and Konrad, Carsten (2009) Working-memory fMRI reveals cingulate hyperactivation in euthymic major depression. Human Brain Mapping, 30 (9). pp. 2746-2756.

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While cognitive impairments are well documented for the acute episode of major depressive disorder (MDD), less is known about cognitive functioning in the euthymic state. For working memory, dysfunctional activation of lateral prefrontal and cingulate cortex has been reported in the acute episode. This study investigates working-memory function and its neurobiological correlate in euthymic MDD patients, particularly whether dysfunctional activation persists when depressive symptoms improve. We investigated 56 subjects with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) at 3 Tesla. To challenge working-memory function, a classical verbal n-back task (0-, 1-, and 2-back) was used in 28 well-characterized, euthymic, unipolar MDD patients and 28 healthy control subjects matched according to age, sex, and educational level. Data were analyzed using SPM5. In the absence of significant behavioral differences, we observed comparable overall patterns of brain activation in both groups. As expected, both groups showed stronger activation of the typical working-memory network with increasing memory load. However, significant hyperactivation of the cingulate cortex was observed in euthymic patients, while lateral prefrontal activation was comparable between patients and controls. Working-memory challenge in the euthymic state of MDD revealed a dissociation of lateral prefrontal and cingulate brain function. Cingulate function, which is important for both emotional and cognitive processing and their integration, is still abnormal when mood is restored. This could reflect a different speed of normalization in prefrontal and limbic cortices, persistent systematic changes in neuronal networks after an episode of MDD, or a compensatory mechanism to maintain working-memory performance.

Item ID: 5110
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1097-0193
Keywords: major depression; remission; cognitive deficits; functional magnetic resonance imaging; working memory; n-back
Date Deposited: 26 Aug 2009 01:23
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1109 Neurosciences > 110999 Neurosciences not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9299 Other Health > 929999 Health not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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