Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/2440/65670
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Type: Journal article
Title: Reduced amygdala-prefrontal coupling in major depression: association with MAOA genotype and illness severity
Author: Dannlowski, U.
Ohrmann, P.
Konrad, C.
Domschke, K.
Bauer, J.
Kugel, H.
Hohoff, C.
Schoning, S.
Kersting, A.
Baune, B.
Mortensen, L.
Arolt, V.
Zwitserlood, P.
Deckert, J.
Heindel, W.
Suslow, T.
Citation: International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, 2009; 12(1):11-22
Publisher: Cambridge Univ Press
Issue Date: 2009
ISSN: 1461-1457
1469-5111
Statement of
Responsibility: 
Udo Dannlowski, Patricia Ohrmann, Carsten Konrad, Katharina Domschke, Jochen Bauer, Harald Kugel, Christa Hohoff, Sonja Schöning, Anette Kersting, Bernhard T. Baune, Lena S. Mortensen, Volker Arolt, Pienie Zwitserlood, Jürgen Deckert, Walter Heindel, and Thomas Suslow
Abstract: The amygdala plays a pivotal role in a cortico-limbic circuitry implicated in emotion processing and regulation. In the present study, functional connectivity of the amygdala with prefrontal areas involved in emotion regulation was investigated during a facial expression processing task in a sample of 34 depressed inpatients and 31 healthy controls. All patients were genotyped for a common functional variable number tandem repeat (VNTR) polymorphism in the promoter region of the monoamine oxidase A gene (MAOA u-VNTR) which has been previously associated with major depression as well as reduced cortico-limbic connectivity in healthy subjects. In our control group, we observed tight coupling of the amygdala and dorsal prefrontal areas comprising the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), dorsal parts of the anterior cingulate cortex (dACC), and lateral orbitofrontal cortex. Amygdala–prefrontal connectivity was significantly reduced in depressed patients and carriers of the higher active MAOA risk alleles (MAOA-H). Hence, depressed MAOA-H carriers showed the weakest amygdala–prefrontal coupling of the investigated subgroups. Furthermore, reduced coupling of this circuitry predicted more than 40% variance of clinical variables characterizing a longer and more severe course of disease. We conclude that genetic variation in the MAOA gene may affect the course of major depression by disrupting cortico-limbic connectivity.
Keywords: Amygdala; fMRI; genetics; major depression; monoamine oxidase A
Rights: Copyright © 2008 CINP
RMID: 0020111500
DOI: 10.1017/S1461145708008973
Appears in Collections:Psychiatry publications

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