[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hippocampal volume loss has been related to chronic stress as well as genetic factors. Although genetic and environmental variables affecting hippocampal volume have extensively been studied and related to mental illness, limited evidence is available with respect to G ϫ E interactions on hippocampal volume. The present MRI study investigated interaction effects on hippocampal volume between three well-studied functional genetic variants (COMT Val158Met, BDNF Val66Met, 5-HTTLPR) associated with hippocampal volume and a measure of environmental adversity (life events questionnaire) in a large sample of healthy humans (n ϭ 153). All three variants showed significant interactions with environmental adversity with respect to hippocampal volume. Observed effects were additive by nature and driven by both recent as well as early life events. A consecutive analysis of hippocampal subfields revealed a spatially distinct profile for each genetic variant suggesting a specific role of 5-HTTLPR for the subiculum, BDNF Val66Met for CA4/dentate gyrus, and COMT Val158Met for CA2/3 volume changes. The present study underscores the importance of G ϫ E interactions as determinants of hippocampal volume, which is crucial for the neurobiological understanding of stress-related conditions, such as mood disorders or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Journal of Neuroscience 07/2014; 34(30):9917–9926. · 6.91 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The serotonin transporter (5-HTT) is abundantly expressed in humans by the serotonin transporter gene SLC6A4 and removes serotonin (5-HT) from extracellular space. A blood-brain relationship between platelet and synaptosomal 5-HT reuptake has been suggested, but it is unknown today, if platelet 5-HT uptake can predict neural activation of human brain networks that are known to be under serotonergic influence.
A functional magnetic resonance study was performed in 48 healthy subjects and maximal 5-HT uptake velocity (Vmax) was assessed in blood platelets. We used a mixed-effects multilevel analysis technique (MEMA) to test for linear relationships between whole-brain, blood-oxygen-level dependent (BOLD) activity and platelet Vmax.
The present study demonstrates that increases in platelet Vmax significantly predict default-mode network (DMN) suppression in healthy subjects independent of genetic variation within SLC6A4. Furthermore, functional connectivity analyses indicate that platelet Vmax is related to global DMN activation and not intrinsic DMN connectivity.
This study provides evidence that platelet Vmax predicts global DMN activation changes in healthy subjects. Given previous reports on platelet-synaptosomal Vmax coupling, results further suggest an important role of neuronal 5-HT reuptake in DMN regulation.
PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(3):e92543. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Widespread use of increasingly complex statistical methods makes it ever more challenging to adequately assess the results reported and conclusions drawn in meta-analytic research. This paper aims to identify potential fallacies by in-depth examination of recent publications on mood disorders.
Three meta-analyses were selected based on availability of data and representativeness of methods employed. By means of detailed re-analysis, several widespread methodological problems were identified, and the example data were used to illustrate and discuss them.
General points addressed include clear formulation of the research question, choice of effect size measures, and general choice of model. Data quality problems like missing data and publication bias are discussed along with methods to deal with them. Furthermore, aspects of meta-analytic modelling like the use of fixed or random effects, data aggregation, as well as the use of subgroups are explained, and issues of excessive complexity and data dredging pointed out. Finally, the benefit of diagnostic tools like confidence bands and the importance of transparency regarding data and methodology for the interpretation of meta-analytic results are highlighted.
Practically relevant quality criteria for readers to bear in mind when dealing with meta-analytic publications are summarized in a ten point checklist.
The World Journal of Biological Psychiatry 03/2011; 12(3):188-200. · 3.57 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Bright-light therapy (BLT) is established as the treatment of choice for seasonal affective disorder/winter type (SAD). In the last two decades, the use of BLT has expanded beyond SAD: there is evidence for efficacy in chronic depression, antepartum depression, premenstrual depression, bipolar depression and disturbances of the sleep-wake cycle. Data on the usefulness of BLT in non-seasonal depression are promising; however, further systematic studies are still warranted. In this review, the authors present a comprehensive overview of the literature on BLT in mood disorders. The first part elucidates the neurobiology of circadian and seasonal adaptive mechanisms focusing on the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), the indolamines melatonin and serotonin, and the chronobiology of mood disorders. The SCN is the primary oscillator in humans. Indolamines are known to transduce light signals into cells and organisms since early in evolution, and their role in signalling change of season is still preserved in humans: melatonin is synthesized primarily in the pineal gland and is the central hormone for internal clock circuitries. The melatonin precursor serotonin is known to modulate many behaviours that vary with season. The second part discusses the pathophysiology and clinical specifiers of SAD, which can be seen as a model disorder for chronobiological disturbances and the mechanism of action of BLT. In the third part, the mode of action, application, efficacy, tolerability and safety of BLT in SAD and other mood disorders are explored.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) are among the most effective antidepressants available, although their poor tolerance at usual recommended doses and toxicity in overdose make them difficult to use. While selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are better tolerated than TCAs, they have their own specific problems, such as the aggravation of sexual dysfunction, interaction with coadministered drugs, and for many, a discontinuation syndrome. In addition, some of them appear to be less effective than TCAs in more severely depressed patients. Increasing evidence of the importance of norepinephrine in the etiology of depression has led to the development of a new generation of antidepressants, the serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). Milnacipran, one of the pioneer SNRIs, was designed from theoretic considerations to be more effective than SSRIs and better tolerated than TCAs, and with a simple pharmacokinetic profile. Milnacipran has the most balanced potency ratio for reuptake inhibition of the two neurotransmitters compared with other SNRIs (1:1.6 for milnacipran, 1:10 for duloxetine, and 1:30 for venlafaxine), and in some studies milnacipran has been shown to inhibit norepinephrine uptake with greater potency than serotonin (2.2:1). Clinical studies have shown that milnacipran has efficacy comparable with the TCAs and is superior to SSRIs in severe depression. In addition, milnacipran is well tolerated, with a low potential for pharmacokinetic drug-drug interactions. Milnacipran is a first-line therapy suitable for most depressed patients. It is frequently successful when other treatments fail for reasons of efficacy or tolerability.
Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment 01/2010; 6:23-31. · 2.00 Impact Factor