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OBJECTIVE - In order to assess the effect of gray matter volumes and cortical thickness on antidepressant treatment response in late-life depression, the authors examined the relationship between brain regions identified a priori and Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) scores over the course of an antidepressant treatment trial.
METHOD - In a nonrandomized prospective trial, 168 patients who were at least 60 years of age and met DSM-IV criteria for major depression underwent MRI and were enrolled in a 12-week treatment study. Exclusion criteria included cognitive impairment or severe medical disorders. The volumes or cortical thicknesses of regions of interest that differed between the depressed group and a comparison group (N=50) were determined. These regions of interest were used in analyses of the depressed group to predict antidepressant treatment outcome. Mixed-model analyses adjusting for age, education, age at depression onset, race, baseline MADRS score, scanner, and interaction with time examined predictors of MADRS scores over time.
RESULTS - Smaller hippocampal volumes predicted a slower response to treatment. With the inclusion of white matter hyper-intensity severity and neuropsychological factor scores, the best model included hippocampal volume and cognitive processing speed to predict rate of response over time. A secondary analysis showed that hippocampal volume and frontal pole thickness differed between patients who achieved remission and those who did not.
CONCLUSIONS - These data expand our understanding of the prediction of treatment course in late-life depression. The authors propose that the primary variables of hippocampal volume and cognitive processing speed, subsuming other contributing variables (episodic memory, executive function, language processing) predict antidepressant response.
GABAergic interneurons synchronize network activities and monitor information flow. Post-mortem studies have reported decreased densities of cortical interneurons in schizophrenia (SZ) and bipolar disorder (BPD). The entorhinal cortex (EC) and the adjacent subicular regions are a hub for integration of hippocampal and cortical information, a process that is disrupted in SZ. Here we contrast and compare the density of interneuron populations in the caudal EC and subicular regions in BPD type I (BPD-I), SZ, and normal control (NC) subjects. Post-mortem human parahippocampal specimens of 13 BPD-I, 11 SZ and 17 NC subjects were used to examine the numerical density of parvalbumin-, somatostatin- or calbindin-positive interneurons. We observed a reduction in the numerical density of parvalbumin- and somatostatin-positive interneurons in the caudal EC and parasubiculum in BPD-I and SZ, but no change in the subiculum. Calbindin-positive interneuron densities were normal in all brain areas examined. The profile of decreased density was strikingly similar in BPD-I and SZ. Our results demonstrate a specific reduction of parvalbumin- and somatostatin-positive interneurons in the parahippocampal region in BPD-I and SZ, likely disrupting synchronization and integration of cortico-hippocampal circuits.
Smaller medial temporal lobe volume is a frequent finding in studies of patients with schizophrenia, but the relative contributions of the hippocampus and three surrounding cortical regions (entorhinal cortex, perirhinal cortex, and parahippocampal cortex) are poorly understood. We tested the hypothesis that the volumes of medial temporal lobe regions are selectively changed in schizophrenia. We studied 19 male patients with schizophrenia and 19 age-matched male control subjects. Hippocampal and cortical volumes were estimated using a three-dimensional morphometric protocol for the analysis of high-resolution structural magnetic resonance images, and repeated measures ANOVA was used to test for region-specific differences. Patients had smaller overall medial temporal lobe volumes compared to controls. The volume difference was not specific for either region or hemisphere. The finding of smaller medial temporal lobe volumes in the absence of regional specificity has important implications for studying the functional role of the hippocampus and surrounding cortical regions in schizophrenia.
Face perception is typically associated with activation in the inferior occipital, superior temporal (STG), and fusiform gyri (FG) and with an occipitotemporal electrophysiological component peaking around 170 ms on the scalp, the N170. However, the relationship between the N170 and the multiple face-sensitive activations observed in neuroimaging is unclear. It has been recently shown that the amplitude of the N170 component monotonically decreases as gaussian noise is added to a picture of a face [Jemel et al., 2003]. To help clarify the sources of the N170 without a priori assumptions regarding their number and locations, ERPs and fMRI were recorded in five subjects in the same experiment, in separate sessions. We used a parametric paradigm in which the amplitude of the N170 was modulated by varying the level of noise in a picture, and identified regions where the percent signal change in fMRI correlated with the ERP data. N170 signals were observed for pictures of both cars and faces but were stronger for faces. A monotonic decrease with added noise was observed for the N170 at right hemisphere sites but was less clear on the left and occipital central sites. Correlations between fMRI signal and N170 amplitudes for faces were highly significant (P < 0.001) in bilateral fusiform gyrus and superior temporal gyrus. For cars, the strongest correlations were observed in the parahippocampal region and in the STG (P < 0.005). Besides contributing to clarify the spatiotemporal course of face processing, this study illustrates how ERP information may be used synergistically in fMRI analyses. Parametric designs may be developed further to provide some timing information on fMRI activity and help identify the generators of ERP signals.
The extent to which the brain regions associated with face processing are selective for that specific function remains controversial. In addition, little is known regarding the extent to which face-responsive brain regions are selective for human faces. To study regional selectivity of face processing, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging to examine whole brain activation in response to human faces, dog faces, and houses. Fourteen healthy right-handed volunteers participated in a passive viewing, blocked experiment. Results indicate that the lateral fusiform gyrus (Brodmann's area 37) responds maximally to both dog and human faces when compared with other sites, followed by the middle/inferior occipital gyrus (BA 18/19). Sites that were activated by houses versus dog and human faces included the medial fusiform gyrus (BA 19/37), the posterior cingulate (BA 30), and the superior occipital gyrus (BA 19). The only site that displayed significant differences in activation between dog and human faces was the lingual/medial fusiform gyrus. In this site, houses elicited the strongest activation, followed by dog faces, while the response to human faces was negligible and did not differ from fixation. The parahippocampal gyrus/amygdala was the sole site that displayed significant activation to human faces, but not to dog faces or houses.