Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Lowers Elevated Functional Connectivity in Depressed Adolescents

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Chattopadhyay, S 
Tait, R 
Simas, T 
van Nieuwenhuizen, A 
Hagan, CC 

Imaging studies have implicated altered functional connectivity in adults with major depressive disorder (MDD). Whether similar dysfunction is present in adolescent patients is unclear. The degree of resting-state functional connectivity (rsFC) may reflect abnormalities within emotional (‘hot’) and cognitive control (‘cold’) neural systems. Here, we investigate rsFC of these systems in adolescent patients and changes following cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) was acquired from adolescent patients before CBT, and 24-weeks later following completed therapy. Similar data were obtained from control participants. Cross-sectional Cohort: From 82 patients and 34 controls at baseline, rsFC of the amygdala, anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), and pre-frontal cortex (PFC) was calculated for comparison. Longitudinal Cohort: From 17 patients and 30 controls with longitudinal data, treatment effects were tested on rsFC. Patients demonstrated significantly greater rsFC to left amygdala, bilateral supragenual ACC, but not with PFC. Treatment effects were observed in right insula connected to left supragenual ACC, with baseline case-control differences reduced. rsFC changes were significantly correlated with changes in depression severity. Depressed adolescents exhibited heightened connectivity in regions of ‘hot’ emotional processing, known to be associated with depression, where treatment exposure exerted positive effects, without concomitant differences in areas of ‘cold’ cognition.

depression, adolescence, resting-state, cortical thickness, functional connectivity, fronto-limbic, adolescent, cognitive therapy, connectome, depressive disorder, major, female, humans, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, male
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Medical Research Council (G0802226)
Medical Research Council (G0001354)
Medical Research Council (G1000183)
The study was funded by the UK Medical Research Council (grant: G0802226), the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) (grant: 06-05-01), financial support from the Department of Health, and the Behavioral and Clinical Neuroscience Institute (BCNI), University of Cambridge, the latter being jointly funded by the Medical Research Council and the Wellcome Trust. Additional support was received from the Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre. SC is supported by a Cambridge CONACyT scholarship from the University of Cambridge Overseas Trust and CONACyT.