Article

Imaging the serotonin transporter during major depressive disorder and antidepressant treatment.

Neurochemical Imaging Program in Mood Disorders, PET Centre, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, Ont.
Journal of psychiatry & neuroscience: JPN (Impact Factor: 7.49). 04/2007; 32(2):86-102.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT This paper focuses on serotonin transporter 5-HTT imaging to investigate major depressive disorder (MDD) and antidepressant occupancy. Such investigations have only recently been possible as a result of major advances in ligand development. The state of the art method is [11C]DASB PET or [11C]-3-amino-4-(2-dimethylaminomethyl-phenylsulfanyl)-benzonitrile) positron emission tomography. [11C]DASB is a breakthrough for brain imaging 5-HTT. Compared with previous radioligands, [11C]DASB offers both high selectivity and a favourable ratio of specific binding relative to free and nonspecific binding. These characteristics contribute to valid, reliable quantitation of the 5-HTT binding potential (BP). The 5-HTT BP can be viewed as an index of 5-HTT density in a medication free state, or unblocked 5-HTT density in a medication-treated state. During major depressive episodes with no other axis I comorbidity, either no difference in regional 5-HTT BP or a trend toward elevated 5-HTT BP is typically found. During major depressive episodes (of MDD) with more severe symptoms of pessimism (dysfunctional attitudes), regional 5-HTT BP is elevated. In subjects with major depressive episodes and comorbid axis I psychiatric illnesses, decreased regional 5-HTT BP is often reported. With selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) treatment at doses that distinguish from placebo in the treatment of major depressive episodes, 5-HTT occupancy is approximately 80%, and there is a strong relation between plasma level and occupancy that is not predictable based on affinity alone. Implications of 5-HTT imaging findings for understanding major depressive disorder and antidepressant treatment will be discussed.

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