[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) examines the spontaneous low frequency neural activity of the brain to reveal networks of correlated neural activity. A number of different methodologies, each with its own advantages and disadvantages, have been used to examine networks of neural activity that may be related to clinical presentation. Major depressive disorder (MDD) research has largely focused on the default mode network (DMN), which is most active at rest and may relate to negative rumination. However, other networks can be discerned in the resting state such as salience and affective and cognitive control networks, all of which may be relevant to MDD psychopathology. This article reviews the rapidly increasing literature on resting state networks. A number of state- and trait-dependent abnormalities have been reported in MDD in a wide variety of regions including the cerebellum, lingual gyrus, anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), middle frontal gyrus (MFG), dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC), amygdala and insula. Current and chronic medication is often a potential confound. Few trials have examined the immediate or delayed effects of antidepressants on resting state networks. This article presents a novel approach to the analysis of drug effects, the identification of signatures of efficacy, and thus for drug development.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background. Prosocial emotions related to self-blame are important in guiding human altruistic decisions. These emotions are elevated in major depressive disorder (MDD), such that MDD has been associated with guilt-driven pathological hyper-altruism. However, the impact of such emotional impairments in MDD on different types of social decision-making is unknown.Method. In order to address this issue, we investigated different kinds of altruistic behaviour (interpersonal cooperation and fund allocation, altruistic punishment and charitable donation) in 33 healthy subjects, 35 patients in full remission (unmedicated) and 24 currently depressed patients (11 on medication) using behavioural-economical paradigms.Results. We show a significant main effect of clinical status on altruistic decisions (p = 0.04) and a significant interaction between clinical status and type of altruistic decisions (p = 0.03). More specifically, symptomatic patients defected significantly more in the Prisoner's Dilemma game (p < 0.05) and made significantly lower charitable donations, whether or not these incurred a personal cost (p < 0.05 and p < 0.01, respectively). Currently depressed patients also reported significantly higher guilt elicited by receiving unfair financial offers in the Ultimatum Game (p < 0.05).Conclusions. Currently depressed individuals were less altruistic in both a charitable donation and an interpersonal cooperation task. Taken together, our results challenge the guilt-driven pathological hyper-altruism hypothesis in depression. There were also differences in both current and remitted patients in the relationship between altruistic behaviour and pathological self-blaming, suggesting an important role for these emotions in moral and social decision-making abnormalities in depression.
Psychological Medicine 10/2014; 45(06):1-13. DOI:10.1017/S0033291714002414 · 5.43 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: FAULKNER, P. and DEAKIN, J.F.W. The role of serotonin in reward, punishment and behavioural inhibition in humans; insights from studies with acute tryptophan depletion Deakin and Graeff proposed that forebrain 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) projections are activated by aversive events and mediate anticipatory coping responses including avoidance learning and suppression of the fight-flight escape/panic response. Other theories proposed 5-HT mediates aspects of behavioural inhibition or reward. Most of the evidence comes from rodent studies. We review 36 experimental studies in humans in which the technique of acute tryptophan depletion (ATD) was used to explicitly address the role of 5-HT in response inhibition, punishment and reward. ATD did not cause disinhibition of responding in the absence of rewards or punishments (9 studies). A major role for 5-HT in reward processing is unlikely but further tests are warranted by some ATD findings. Remarkably, ATD lessened the ability of punishments (losing points or notional money) to restrain behaviour without affecting reward processing in 7 studies. 2 of these studies strongly indicate that ATD blocks 5-HT mediated aversively conditioned Pavlovian inhibition and this can explain a number of the behavioural effects of ATD.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: There is increasing evidence that genetic factors play a role in differential susceptibility to depression in response to severe or chronic adversity. Studies in animals suggest that nitric oxide (NO) signalling plays a key role in depression-like behavioural responses to stress. This study investigated whether genetic variation in the brain-expressed nitric oxide synthase gene NOS1 modifies the relationship between psychosocial stress and current depression score. We recruited a population sample of 1222 individuals who provided DNA and questionnaire data on symptoms and stress. Scores on the List of Life-Threatening Experiences (LTE) questionnaire for the last year and self-rated current financial hardship were used as measures of recent/ongoing psychosocial stress. Twenty SNPs were genotyped. Significant associations between 8 NOS1 SNPs, comprising two regional haplotypes, and current depression score were identified that survived correction for multiple testing when current financial hardship was used as the interaction term. A smaller 3 SNP haplotype (rs10507279, rs1004356, rs3782218) located in a regulatory region of NOS1 showed one of the strongest effects, with the A-C-T haplotype associating with higher depression scores at low adversity levels but lower depression scores at higher adversity levels (p=2.3E-05). These results suggest that NOS1 SNPs interact with exposure to economic and psychosocial stressors to alter individual's susceptibility to depression.Neuropsychopharmacology accepted article preview online, 11 June 2014; doi:10.1038/npp.2014.137.
Neuropsychopharmacology: official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology 06/2014; 39(12). DOI:10.1038/npp.2014.137 · 8.68 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background
Major depressive disorder (MDD) is associated with functional abnormalities in fronto-meso-limbic networks contributing to decision-making, affective and reward processing impairments. Such functional disturbances may underlie a tendency for enhanced altruism driven by empathy-based guilt observed in some patients. However, despite the relevance of altruistic decisions to understanding vulnerability, as well as everyday psychosocial functioning, in MDD, their functional neuroanatomy is unknown.
Using a charitable donations experiment with fMRI, we compared 14 medication-free participants with fully remitted MDD and 15 demographically-matched control participants without MDD.
Compared with the control group, the remitted MDD group exhibited enhanced BOLD response in a septal/subgenual cingulate cortex (sgACC) region for charitable donation relative to receiving simple rewards and higher striatum activation for both charitable donation and simple reward relative to a low level baseline. The groups did not differ in demographics, frequency of donations or response times, demonstrating only a difference in neural architecture.
We showed that altruistic decisions probe residual sgACC hypersensitivity in MDD even after symptoms are fully remitted. The sgACC has previously been shown to be associated with guilt which promotes altruistic decisions. In contrast, the striatum showed common activation to both simple and altruistic rewards and could be involved in the so-called “warm glow” of donation. Enhanced neural response in the depression group, in areas previously linked to altruistic decisions, supports the hypothesis of a possible association between hyper-altruism and depression vulnerability, as shown by recent epidemiological studies.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Galanin is a stress-inducible neuropeptide and cotransmitter in serotonin and norepinephrine neurons with a possible role in stress-related disorders. Here we report that variants in genes for galanin (GAL) and its receptors (GALR1, GALR2, GALR3), despite their disparate genomic loci, conferred increased risk of depression and anxiety in people who experienced childhood adversity or recent negative life events in a European white population cohort totaling 2,361 from Manchester, United Kingdom and Budapest, Hungary. Bayesian multivariate analysis revealed a greater relevance of galanin system genes in highly stressed subjects compared with subjects with moderate or low life stress. Using the same method, the effect of the galanin system genes was stronger than the effect of the well-studied 5-HTTLPR polymorphism in the serotonin transporter gene (SLC6A4). Conventional multivariate analysis using general linear models demonstrated that interaction of galanin system genes with life stressors explained more variance (1.7%, P = 0.005) than the life stress-only model. This effect replicated in independent analysis of the Manchester and Budapest subpopulations, and in males and females. The results suggest that the galanin pathway plays an important role in the pathogenesis of depression in humans by increasing the vulnerability to early and recent psychosocial stress. Correcting abnormal galanin function in depression could prove to be a novel target for drug development. The findings further emphasize the importance of modeling environmental interaction in finding new genes for depression.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 03/2014; 111(16). DOI:10.1073/pnas.1403649111 · 9.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Proneness to self-blaming moral emotions such as shame and guilt is increased in major depressive disorder (MDD), and may play an important role in vulnerability even after symptoms have subsided. Social psychologists have argued that shame-proneness is relevant for depression vulnerability and is distinct from guilt. Shame depends on the imagined critical perception of others, whereas guilt results from one's own judgement. The neuroanatomy of shame in MDD is unknown. Using fMRI, we compared 21 participants with MDD remitted from symptoms with no current co-morbid axis-I disorders, and 18 control participants with no personal or family history of MDD. The MDD group exhibited higher activation of the right amygdala and posterior insula for shame relative to guilt (SPM8). This neural difference was observed despite equal levels of rated negative emotional valence and frequencies of induced shame and guilt experience across groups. These same results were found in the medication-free MDD subgroup (N = 15). Increased amygdala and posterior insula activations, known to be related to sensory perception of emotional stimuli, distinguish shame from guilt responses in remitted MDD. People with MDD thus exhibit changes in the neural response to shame after symptoms have subsided. This supports the hypothesis that shame and guilt play at least partly distinct roles in vulnerability to MDD. Shame-induction may be a more sensitive probe of residual amygdala hypersensitivity in MDD compared with facial emotion-evoked responses previously found to normalize on remission.
PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(1):e86900. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0086900 · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The non-competitive N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor antagonist ketamine leads to transient psychosis-like symptoms and impairments in oculomotor performance in healthy volunteers. This study examined whether the adverse effects of ketamine on oculomotor performance can be reversed by the atypical antipsychotic risperidone. In this randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study, 72 healthy participants performed smooth pursuit eye movements (SPEM), prosaccades (PS) and antisaccades (AS) while being randomly assigned to one of four drug groups (intravenous 100 ng ml(-1) ketamine, 2 mg oral risperidone, 100 ng ml(-1) ketamine plus 2 mg oral risperidone, placebo). Drug administration did not lead to harmful adverse events. Ketamine increased saccadic frequency and decreased velocity gain of SPEM (all P<0.01) but had no significant effects on PS or AS (all P0.07). An effect of risperidone was observed for amplitude gain and peak velocity of PS and AS, indicating hypometric gain and slower velocities compared with placebo (both P0.04). No ketamine by risperidone interactions were found (all P0.26). The results confirm that the administration of ketamine produces oculomotor performance deficits similar in part to those seen in schizophrenia. The atypical antipsychotic risperidone did not reverse ketamine-induced deteriorations. These findings do not support the cognitive enhancing potential of risperidone on oculomotor biomarkers in this model system of schizophrenia and point towards the importance of developing alternative performance-enhancing compounds to optimise pharmacological treatment of schizophrenia.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Major depressive disorder (MDD) is associated with abnormalities in financial reward processing. Previous research suggests that patients with MDD show reduced sensitivity to frequency of financial rewards. However, there is a lack of conclusive evidence from studies investigating the evaluation of financial rewards over time, an important aspect of reward processing that influences the way people plan long-term investments. Beck's cognitive model posits that patients with MDD hold a negative view of the future that may influence the amount of resources patients are willing to invest into their future selves.
We administered a delay discounting task to 82 participants: 29 healthy controls, 29 unmedicated participants with fully remitted MDD (rMDD) and 24 participants with current MDD (11 on medication).
Patients with current MDD, relative to remitted patients and healthy subjects, discounted large-sized future rewards at a significantly higher rate and were insensitive to changes in reward size from medium to large. There was a main effect of clinical group on discounting rates for large-sized rewards, and discounting rates for large-sized rewards correlated with severity of depressive symptoms, particularly hopelessness.
Higher discounting of delayed rewards in MDD seems to be state dependent and may be a reflection of depressive symptoms, specifically hopelessness. Discounting distant rewards at a higher rate means that patients are more likely to choose immediate financial options. Such impairments related to long-term investment planning may be important for understanding value-based decision making in MDD, and contribute to ongoing functional impairment.
Psychological Medicine 11/2013; 44(9):1-10. DOI:10.1017/S0033291713002584 · 5.43 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The importance of differentiating between social concepts when appraising actions (e.g., understanding behavior as critical vs. fault-finding) and its contribution to vulnerability to major depressive disorder (MDD) is unknown. We predicted poor integration of differentiated conceptual knowledge when people with MDD appraise their social actions, contributing to their tendency to grossly overgeneralize self-blame (e.g., "I am unlikable rather than critical"). To test this hypothesis, we used a neuropsychological test measuring social conceptual differentiation and its relationship with emotional biases in a remitted MDD and a control group. During fMRI, guilt- and indignation-evoking sentences were presented. As predicted, conceptual overgeneralization was associated with increased emotional intensity when appraising social actions. Interdependence of conceptual overgeneralization and negative emotional biases was stronger in MDD (reproducible in the subgroup without medication) and was associated with overgeneralized self-blame. This high conceptual-emotional interdependence was associated with functional disconnection between the right superior anterior temporal lobe (ATL) and right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (PFC) as well as a septal region across groups when experiencing guilt (SPM8). Strong coupling of conceptual information (ATL) with information about the context of actions and emotions (frontal-subcortical regions) is thus associated with appraisal being less dependent on conceptual overgeneralization, thereby protecting against excessive self-blame.
Social neuroscience 07/2013; 8(5). DOI:10.1080/17470919.2013.810171 · 2.87 Impact Factor