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Anhedonia and reward-circuit connectivity distinguish nonresponders from responders to dorsomedial prefrontal rTMS in major depression

Downar, J., Geraci, J., Salomons, T., Dunlop, K., Wheeler, S., McAndrews, M. P., Bakker, N., Blumberger, D. M., Daskalakis, Z. J., Kennedy, S. H., Flint, A. J. and Giacobbe, P. (2014) Anhedonia and reward-circuit connectivity distinguish nonresponders from responders to dorsomedial prefrontal rTMS in major depression. Biological Psychiatry, 76 (3). pp. 176-185. ISSN 0006-3223

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2013.10.026


Background Depression is a heterogeneous mental illness. Neurostimulation treatments, by targeting specific nodes within the brain’s emotion-regulation network, may be useful both as therapies and as probes for identifying clinically relevant depression subtypes. Methods Here, we applied 20 sessions of magnetic resonance imaging-guided repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) to the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex in 47 unipolar or bipolar patients with a medication-resistant major depressive episode. Results Treatment response was strongly bimodal, with individual patients showing either minimal or marked improvement. Compared with responders, nonresponders showed markedly higher baseline anhedonia symptomatology (including pessimism, loss of pleasure, and loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities) on item-by-item examination of Beck Depression Inventory-II and Quick Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology ratings. Congruently, on baseline functional magnetic resonance imaging, nonresponders showed significantly lower connectivity through a classical reward pathway comprising ventral tegmental area, striatum, and a region in ventromedial prefrontal cortex. Responders and nonresponders also showed opposite patterns of hemispheric lateralization in the connectivity of dorsomedial and dorsolateral regions to this same ventromedial region. Conclusions The results suggest distinct depression subtypes, one with preserved hedonic function and responsive to dorsomedial rTMS and another with disrupted hedonic function, abnormally lateralized connectivity through ventromedial prefrontal cortex, and unresponsive to dorsomedial rTMS. Future research directly comparing the effects of rTMS at different targets, guided by neuroimaging and clinical presentation, may clarify whether hedonia/reward circuit integrity is a reliable marker for optimizing rTMS target selection.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Department of Psychology
ID Code:35143


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