Association of cerebral metabolic activity changes with vagus nerve stimulation antidepressant response in treatment-resistant depression.
SourceDepartment of Psychiatry, Washington University, St. Louis, MO, USA; Department of Neurology and Psychiatry, Saint Louis University, St. Louis, MO, USA. Electronic address: email@example.com.
BACKGROUND:Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) has antidepressant effects in treatment resistant major depression (TRMD); these effects are poorly understood. This trial examines associations of subacute (3 months) and chronic (12 months) VNS with cerebral metabolism in TRMD.
OBJECTIVE:17Fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography was used to examine associations between 12-month antidepressant VNS response and cerebral metabolic rate for glucose (CMRGlu) changes at 3 and 12 months.
METHODS:Thirteen TRMD patients received 12 months of VNS. Depression assessments (Hamilton Depression Rating Scale [HDRS]) and PET scans were obtained at baseline (pre-VNS) and 3/12 months. CMRGlu was assessed in eight a priori selected brain regions (bilateral anterior insular [AIC], orbitofrontal [OFC], dorsolateral prefrontal [DLPFC], and anterior cingulate cortices [ACC]). Regional CMRGlu changes over time were studied in VNS responders (decreased 12 month HDRS by ≥50%) and nonresponders.
RESULTS:A significant trend (decreased 3 month CMRGlu) in the right DLPFC was observed over time in VNS responders (n = 9; P = 0.006). An exploratory whole brain analysis (Puncorrected = 0.005) demonstrated decreased 3 month right rostral cingulate and DLPFC CMRGlu, and increased 12 month left ventral tegmental CMRGlu in responders.
CONCLUSIONS/LIMITATIONS:VNS response may involve gradual (months in duration) brain adaptations. Early on, this process may involve decreased right-sided DLPFC/cingulate cortical activity; longer term effects (12 months) may lead to brainstem dopaminergic activation. Study limitations included: a) a small VNS nonresponders sample (N = 4), which limited conclusions about nonresponder CMRGlu changes; b) no control group; and, c) patients maintained their psychotropic medications.
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