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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Functional neuroanatomical substrates of altered reward processing in major depressive disorder revealed by a dopaminergic probe.

CONTEXT: The pathophysiology of major depressive disorder ( MDD) includes disturbances in several neuroanatomical substrates and neurotransmitter systems. The challenge is to elucidate the brain mechanisms of MDD behavioral symptoms, chiefly those of anhedonia. OBJECTIVES: To visualize the neuroanatomical substrates implicated in altered reward processing in MDD, using functional magnetic resonance imaging in combination with a dopaminergic probe (a 30-mg dose of oral dextroamphetamine sulfate) to stimulate the brain reward system; and to test the hypothesis that a hypersensitive response to dextroamphetamine in MDD involves the prefrontal cortex and the striatum. DESIGN AND INTERVENTIONS: Among subjects with MDD and healthy control subjects, functional magnetic resonance imaging data were collected before and after single-blind administration of dextroamphetamine. SETTING: Subjects were recruited through local newspaper advertisements and by word of mouth. PARTICIPANTS: Twelve depressed subjects (mean age, 34.83 years; male-female ratio, 6:6) met criteria for MDD according to the DSM-IV, were not taking antidepressants, and had no comorbid Axis I disorders. Twelve control subjects (mean age, 29.33 years; male-female ratio, 5:7) were healthy volunteers without a history of Axis I disorders. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Functional magnetic resonance imaging blood oxygen level-dependent activation was measured during a controlled task, and dextroamphetamine-induced subjective effects were assessed using the Addiction Research Center Inventory. RESULTS: Subjects with MDD had a hypersensitive response to the rewarding effects of dextroamphetamine (2-fold increase; t(21) = 2.74, P = .01), with altered brain activation in the ventrolateral prefrontal cortex and the orbitofrontal cortex and the caudate and putamen (F(1,44) = 11.93, P = .001). CONCLUSION: Dopamine-related neuroanatomical substrates are involved in altered reward processing in MDD, shedding light on the neurobiology of the anhedonic symptoms in MDD and suggesting these substrates as future therapeutic targets.[1]


  1. Functional neuroanatomical substrates of altered reward processing in major depressive disorder revealed by a dopaminergic probe. Tremblay, L.K., Naranjo, C.A., Graham, S.J., Herrmann, N., Mayberg, H.S., Hevenor, S., Busto, U.E. Arch. Gen. Psychiatry (2005) [Pubmed]
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