Examining raphe-amygdala structural connectivity as a biological predictor of SSRI response.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:Our lab has previously found that structural integrity in tracts from the raphe nucleus (RN) to the amygdala, measured by fractional anisotropy (FA), predicts remission to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) in major depressive disorder (MDD). This could potentially serve as a biomarker for remission that can guide clinical decision-making. To enhance repeatability and reproducibility, we replicated our study in a larger, more representative multi-site sample. METHODS:64 direction DTI was collected in 144 medication-free patients with MDD from the Establishing Moderators and Biosignatures of Antidepressant Response for Clinical Care (EMBARC) study. We performed probabilistic tractography between the RN and bilateral amygdala and hippocampus and calculated weighted FA in these tracts. Patients were treated with either sertraline or placebo, and their change in Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS) score reported. Pretreatment weighted FA was compared between remitters and nonremitters, and correlation between FA and percent change in HDRS score was assessed. Exploratory moderator and voxel analyses were also performed. RESULTS:Contrary to our hypotheses, FA was greater in nonremitters than in remitters in RN-left and right amygdala tracts (p?=?0.02 and 0.01, respectively). Pretreatment FA between the raphe and left amygdala correlated with greater, not reduced, HDRS (r?=?0.18, p?=?0.04). This finding was found to be greater in the placebo group. Moderator and voxel analyses yielded no significant findings. CONCLUSIONS:We found greater FA in nonremitters between the RN and amygdala than in remitters, and a correlation between FA and symptom worsening, particularly with placebo. These findings may help reveal more about the nature of MDD, as well as guide research methods involving placebo response.
Project description:Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a debilitating condition that affects over 14 million Americans. Remission occurs only in a minority of individuals after first-line antidepressant treatment (?35%); predictors of treatment outcome are therefore needed. Using PET imaging with a radiotracer specific for the serotonin transporter (5-HTT), 11C-McN5652, we found that patients with MDD who did not achieve remission after 12 mo of naturalistic treatment had lower pretreatment midbrain and amygdala binding than healthy volunteers. Here, using a superior 5-HTT tracer, 11C-DASB, we repeated this study with a prospective design with 8 wk of standardized treatment with escitalopram. As this same cohort also underwent 11C-WAY100635 scans (serotonin-1A receptor [5-HT1A]), we examined whether using both pretreatment 5-HTT and 5-HT1A binding could improve prediction of posttreatment remission status. Methods: Thirty-one healthy controls (Hamilton Depression Rating Scale-24 item [HDRS-24] = 1.7) and 26 medication-free patients with MDD (HDRS-24 = 24.8) underwent PET scanning using 11C-DASB. MDD subjects then received 8 wk of standardized pharmacotherapy with escitalopram. The relationship between pretreatment binding and posttreatment clinical status was examined. Arterial blood samples were collected to calculate the metabolite-corrected arterial input function. The outcome measure was VT/fP (VT is volume of distribution in region of interest, fP is free fraction in plasma). Remission was defined as a posttreatment depression score of less than 10 as well as 50% or more reduction in the score from baseline, resulting in 14 nonremitters (HDRS-24 = 17.6) and 12 remitters (HDRS-24 = 5.3). Results: A linear mixed-effects model comparing group differences in the a priori regions of interest (amygdala and midbrain) revealed a significant difference in amygdala binding between controls and remitters (P = 0.03, unadjusted), where remitters had an 11% lower amygdala binding than controls. Differences in amygdala binding between remitters and nonremitters approached significance (P = 0.06). No additional differences were found between any groups (all P > 0.05). Additionally, we found no relationship between pretreatment amygdala binding and posttreatment depression score, and were unable to predict posttreatment depression severity using both pretreatment 5-HTT (in the amygdala) and 5-HT1A binding (in the raphe). Conclusion: These results suggest 5-HTT amygdala binding should be examined further, in conjunction with other measures, as a potential biomarker for remission after standardized escitalopram treatment.
Project description:We previously reported higher serotonin 1A receptor (5-HT1A) binding in subjects with major depressive disorder (MDD) during a major depressive episode using positron emission tomography imaging with [(11)C]WAY-100635. 5-HT1A receptor binding is also associated with treatment outcome after nonstandardized antidepressant treatment. We examined whether pretreatment 5-HT1A binding is associated with treatment outcome following standardized escitalopram treatment in MDD. We also compared 5-HT1A binding between all MDD subjects in this cohort and a sample of healthy control subjects.Twenty-four MDD subjects in a current major depressive episode and 51 previously studied healthy control subjects underwent positron emission tomography scanning with [(11)C]WAY-100635, acquiring a metabolite-corrected arterial input function and free-fraction measurement to estimate 5-HT1A binding potential (BPF = Bmax/KD, where Bmax = available receptors and KD = dissociation constant). Major depressive disorder subjects then received 8 weeks of treatment with escitalopram; remission was defined as a posttreatment 24-item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale <10 and ? 50% reduction in Hamilton Depression Rating Scale.Remitters to escitalopram had 33% higher baseline 5-HT1A binding in the raphe nuclei than nonremitters (p = .047). Across 12 cortical and subcortical regions, 5-HT1A binding did not differ between remitters and nonremitters (p = .86). Serotonin 1A receptor binding was higher in MDD than control subjects across all regions (p = .0003). Remitters did not differ from nonremitters in several relevant clinical measures.Elevated 5-HT1A binding in raphe nuclei is associated with subsequent remission with the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor escitalopram; this is consistent with data from a separate cohort receiving naturalistic antidepressant treatment. We confirmed our previous findings of higher 5-HT1A binding in current MDD compared with control subjects.
Project description:The lower-expressing (S') alleles of the serotonin transporter (5-HTT) gene promoter polymorphism (5-HTTLPR) are linked to mood and anxiety related psychopathology. However, the specific neural mechanism through which these alleles may influence emotional and cognitive processing remains unknown. We examined the relationship between both 5-HTTLPR genotype and in vivo 5-HTT binding quantified via PET with amygdala reactivity to emotionally negative stimuli. We hypothesized that 5-HTT binding in both raphe nuclei (RN) and amygdala would be inversely correlated with amygdala reactivity, and that number of S' alleles would correlate positively with amygdala reactivity.In medication-free patients with current major depressive disorder (MDD; N=21), we determined 5-HTTLPR genotype, employed functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to examine amygdala responses to negative emotional stimuli, and used positron emission tomography with [(11)C]DASB to examine 5-HTT binding.[(11)C]DASB binding in RN and amygdala was inversely correlated with amygdala response to negative stimuli. 5-HTTLPR S' alleles were not associated with amygdala response to negative emotional stimuli.Primary limitations are small sample size and lack of control group.Consistent with findings in healthy volunteers, 5-HTT binding is associated with amygdala reactivity to emotional stimuli in MDD. 5-HTT binding may be a stronger predictor of emotional processing in MDD as compared with 5-HTTLPR genotype.
Project description:Serotonin 1A (5-HT1A ) receptors play a direct role in neuronal development, cell proliferation, and dendritic branching. We hypothesized that variability in 5-HT1A binding can affect cortical thickness, and may account for a subtype of major depressive disorder (MDD) in which both are altered. To evaluate this, we measured cortical thickness from structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and 5-HT1A binding by positron emission tomography (PET) in an exploratory study. To examine a range of 5-HT1A binding and cortical thickness values, we recruited 25 healthy controls and 19 patients with MDD. We hypothesized increased 5-HT1A binding in the raphe nucleus (RN) would be negatively associated with cortical thickness due to reduced serotonergic transmission. Contrary to our hypothesis, raphe 5-HT1A binding was positively correlated with cortical thickness in right posterior cingulate cortex (PCC), a region implicated in the default mode network. Cortical thickness was also positively correlated with 5-HT1A in each cortical region. We further hypothesized that the strength of 5-HT1A -cortical thickness correlation depends on the number of axons between the raphe nucleus and each region. To explore this we related 5-HT1A -cortical thickness correlation coefficients to the number of tracts connecting that region and the raphe, as measured by diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) in an independent sample. The 5-HT1A -cortical thickness association correlated significantly with the number of tracts to each region, supporting our hypothesis. We posit a defect in the raphe may affect the PCC within the default mode network in MDD through serotonergic fibers, resulting in increased ruminative processing.
Project description:The goals of this study are to generate and study neurons from MDD patients and examine specific aspects of serotonergic neurotransmission in selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) remitters ® and SSRI-nonremitters (NR) Overall design: From patients (NR, R) and healthy controls (H), forebrain neurons were derived from iPSCs for further study (Vadodaria et al, 2019)
Project description:Major depressive disorder (MDD) is highly prevalent and associated with considerable morbidity, yet its pathophysiology remains only partially understood. While numerous studies have investigated the neurobiological correlates of MDD, most have used only a single neuroimaging modality. In particular, diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) studies have failed to yield uniform results. In this context, examining key tracts and using information from multiple neuroimaging modalities may better characterize potential abnormalities in the MDD brain. This study analyzed data from 30 participants with MDD and 26 healthy participants who underwent DTI, magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS), resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), and magnetoencephalography (MEG). Tracts connecting the subgenual anterior cingulate cortex (sgACC) and the left and right amygdala, as well as connections to the left and right hippocampus and thalamus, were examined as target areas. Reduced fractional anisotropy (FA) was observed in the studied tracts. Significant differences in the correlation between medial prefrontal glutamate concentrations and FA were also observed between MDD and healthy participants along tracts connecting the sgACC and right amygdala; healthy participants exhibited a strong correlation but MDD participants showed no such relationship. In the same tract, a correlation was observed between FA and subsequent antidepressant response to ketamine infusion in MDD participants. Exploratory models also suggested group differences in the relationship between DTI, fMRI, and MEG measures. This study is the first to combine MRS, DTI, fMRI, and MEG data to obtain multimodal indices of MDD and antidepressant response and may lay the foundation for similar future analyses.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>The brainstem is the main region that innervates neurotransmitter release to the Hypothalamic-Pituitary Adrenal (HPA) axis and fronto-limbic circuits, two key brain circuits found to be dysfunctional in Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). However, the brainstem's role in MDD has only been evaluated in limited reports. Using Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI), we investigated whether major brainstem white matter tracts that relate to these two circuits differ in MDD patients compared to healthy controls.<h4>Methods</h4>MDD patients (n?=?95) and age- and gender-matched controls (n?=?34) were assessed using probabilistic tractography of DTI to delineate three distinct brainstem tracts: the nigrostriatal tract (connecting brainstem to striatum), solitary tract (connecting brainstem to amygdala) and corticospinal tract (connecting brainstem to precentral cortex). Fractional anisotropy (FA) was used to measure the white matter integrity of these tracts, and measures were compared between MDD and control participants.<h4>Results</h4>MDD participants were characterized by a significant and specific decrease in white matter integrity of the right solitary tract (p<0.009 using independent t-test), which is a "bottom up" afferent pathway that connects the brainstem to the amygdala. This decrease was not related to symptom severity.<h4>Conclusions</h4>The results provide new evidence to suggest that structural connectivity between the brainstem and the amygdala is altered in MDD. These results are interesting in light of predominant theories regarding amygdala-mediated emotional reactivity observed in functional imaging studies of MDD. The characterization of altered white matter integrity in the solitary tract in MDD supports the possibility of dysfunctional brainstem-amygdala connectivity impacting vulnerable circuits in MDD.
Project description:To date, there are no biomarkers for major depressive disorder (MDD) treatment response in clinical use. Such biomarkers could allow for individualized treatment selection, reducing time spent on ineffective treatments and the burden of MDD. In search of such a biomarker, multisite pretreatment and early-treatment (1 week into treatment) structural magnetic resonance (MR) images were acquired from 184 patients with MDD randomized to an 8-week trial of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) sertraline or placebo. This study represents a large, multisite, placebo-controlled effort to examine the association between pretreatment differences or early-treatment changes in cortical thickness and treatment-specific outcomes. For standardization, a novel, robust site harmonization procedure was applied to structural measures in a priori regions (rostral and caudal anterior cingulate, lateral orbitofrontal, rostral middle frontal, and hippocampus), chosen based on previously published reports. Pretreatment cortical thickness or volume did not significantly associate with SSRI response. Thickening of the rostral anterior cingulate cortex in the first week of treatment was associated with better 8-week responses to SSRI (p?=?0.010). These findings indicate that frontal lobe structural alterations in the first week of treatment may be associated with long-term treatment efficacy. While these associational findings may help to elucidate the specific neural targets of SSRIs, the predictive accuracy of pretreatment or early-treatment structural alterations in classifying treatment remitters from nonremitters was limited to 63.9%. Therefore, in this large sample of adults with MDD, structural MR imaging measures were not found to be clinically translatable biomarkers of treatment response to SSRI or placebo.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:Major depressive disorder (MDD) occurs frequently in adolescents, but the neurobiology of depression in youth is poorly understood. Structural neuroimaging studies in both adult and pediatric populations have implicated frontolimbic neural networks in the pathophysiology of MDD. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), which measures white matter (WM) microstructure, is a promising tool for examining neural connections and how they may be abnormal in MDD. METHOD:We used two separate approaches to analyze DTI data in adolescents with MDD (n = 14) compared with healthy volunteers (n = 14). RESULTS:The first, hypothesis-driven approach was to use probabilistic tractography to delineate tracts arising from the subgenual anterior cingulate cortex (ACC). Adolescents with MDD demonstrated lower fractional anisotropy (FA) in the WM tract connecting subgenual ACC to amygdala in the right hemisphere. The second, exploratory approach was to conduct a voxelwise comparison of FA. This analysis revealed 10 clusters where adolescents with MDD had significantly lower (uncorrected) FA than the healthy group within WM tracts including right and left uncinate and supragenual cingulum. CONCLUSIONS:These preliminary data support the hypothesis that altered WM microstructure in frontolimbic neural pathways may contribute to the pathophysiology of MDD in adolescents.
Project description:OBJECTIVES:Treatment-resistant depression is a common clinical occurrence among patients with major depressive disorder (MDD), but its neurobiology is poorly understood. We used data collected as part of routine clinical care to study white matter integrity of the brain's limbic system and its association to treatment response. METHODS:Electronic medical records of multiple large New England hospitals were screened for patients with an MDD billing diagnosis, and natural language processing was subsequently applied to find those with concurrent diffusion-weighted images, but without any diagnosed brain pathology. Treatment outcome was determined by review of clinical charts. MDD patients (n = 29 non-remitters, n = 26 partial-remitters, and n = 37 full-remitters), and healthy control subjects (n = 58) were analyzed for fractional anisotropy (FA) of the fornix and cingulum bundle. RESULTS:Failure to achieve remission was associated with lower FA among MDD patients, statistically significant for the medial body of the fornix. Moreover, global and regional-selective age-related FA decline was most pronounced in patients with treatment-refractory, non-remitted depression. CONCLUSIONS:These findings suggest that specific brain microstructural white matter abnormalities underlie persistent, treatment-resistant depression. They also demonstrate the feasibility of investigating white matter integrity in psychiatric populations using legacy data.