Increases in prefrontal cortex activity when regulating negative emotion predicts symptom severity trajectory over six months in depression
Format: Journal Article
Sources ID: 23226
Zotero Collections: Contexts of Contemplation Project
Context: Emotion regulation is critically disrupted in depression and use of paradigms tapping these processes may uncover essential changes in neurobiology during treatment. In addition, as neuroimaging outcome studies of depression commonly utilize solely baseline and endpoint data – which is more prone to week-to week noise in symptomatology – we sought to use all data points over the course of a six month trial. Objective: To examine changes in neurobiology resulting from successful treatment. Design: Double-blind trial examining changes in the neural circuits involved in emotion regulation resulting from one of two antidepressant treatments over a six month trial. Participants were scanned pretreatment, at 2 months and 6 months posttreatment. Setting: University functional magnetic resonance imaging facility. Participants: 21 patients with Major Depressive Disorder and without other Axis I or Axis II diagnoses and 14 healthy controls. Interventions: Venlafaxine XR (doses up to 300mg) or Fluoxetine (doses up to 80mg). Main Outcome Measure: Neural activity, as measured using functional magnetic resonance imaging during performance of an emotion regulation paradigm as well as regular assessments of symptom severity by the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression. To utilize all data points, slope trajectories were calculated for rate of change in depression severity as well as rate of change of neural engagement. Results: Those depressed individuals showing the steepest decrease in depression severity over the six months were those individuals showing the most rapid increases in BA10 and right DLPFC activity when regulating negative affect over the same time frame. This relationship was more robust than when using solely the baseline and endpoint data. Conclusions: Changes in PFC engagement when regulating negative affect correlate with changes in depression severity over six months. These results are buttressed by calculating these statistics which are more reliable and robust to week-to-week variation than difference scores.