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Anatomical and functional correlates in major depressive disorder: The contribution of neuroimaging studies

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      Functional connectivity in the resting brain: a network analysis of the default mode hypothesis.

      Functional imaging studies have shown that certain brain regions, including posterior cingulate cortex (PCC) and ventral anterior cingulate cortex (vACC), consistently show greater activity during resting states than during cognitive tasks. This finding led to the hypothesis that these regions constitute a network supporting a default mode of brain function. In this study, we investigate three questions pertaining to this hypothesis: Does such a resting-state network exist in the human brain? Is it modulated during simple sensory processing? How is it modulated during cognitive processing? To address these questions, we defined PCC and vACC regions that showed decreased activity during a cognitive (working memory) task, then examined their functional connectivity during rest. PCC was strongly coupled with vACC and several other brain regions implicated in the default mode network. Next, we examined the functional connectivity of PCC and vACC during a visual processing task and show that the resultant connectivity maps are virtually identical to those obtained during rest. Last, we defined three lateral prefrontal regions showing increased activity during the cognitive task and examined their resting-state connectivity. We report significant inverse correlations among all three lateral prefrontal regions and PCC, suggesting a mechanism for attenuation of default mode network activity during cognitive processing. This study constitutes, to our knowledge, the first resting-state connectivity analysis of the default mode and provides the most compelling evidence to date for the existence of a cohesive default mode network. Our findings also provide insight into how this network is modulated by task demands and what functions it might subserve.
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        Brain structural and functional abnormalities in mood disorders: implications for neurocircuitry models of depression

        The neural networks that putatively modulate aspects of normal emotional behavior have been implicated in the pathophysiology of mood disorders by converging evidence from neuroimaging, neuropathological and lesion analysis studies. These networks involve the medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC) and closely related areas in the medial and caudolateral orbital cortex (medial prefrontal network), amygdala, hippocampus, and ventromedial parts of the basal ganglia, where alterations in grey matter volume and neurophysiological activity are found in cases with recurrent depressive episodes. Such findings hold major implications for models of the neurocircuits that underlie depression. In particular evidence from lesion analysis studies suggests that the MPFC and related limbic and striato-pallido-thalamic structures organize emotional expression. The MPFC is part of a larger “default system” of cortical areas that include the dorsal PFC, mid- and posterior cingulate cortex, anterior temporal cortex, and entorhinal and parahippocampal cortex, which has been implicated in self-referential functions. Dysfunction within and between structures in this circuit may induce disturbances in emotional behavior and other cognitive aspects of depressive syndromes in humans. Further, because the MPFC and related limbic structures provide forebrain modulation over visceral control structures in the hypothalamus and brainstem, their dysfunction can account for the disturbances in autonomic regulation and neuroendocrine responses that are associated with mood disorders. This paper discusses these systems together with the neurochemical systems that impinge on them and form the basis for most pharmacological therapies.
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          Major depressive disorder.

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            Author and article information

            Journal
            The World Journal of Biological Psychiatry
            The World Journal of Biological Psychiatry
            Informa UK Limited
            1562-2975
            1814-1412
            March 10 2010
            March 2010
            March 10 2010
            March 2010
            : 11
            : 2-2
            : 165-180
            10.3109/15622970903131571
            © 2010

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