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Cortical thickness following electroconvulsive therapy in patients with depression - a longitudinal MRI study

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OBJECTIVE: Several studies have found an increase in hippocampal volume following electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), but the effect on cortical thickness has been less investigated. We aimed to examine the effects of ECT on cortical thickness and their associations with clinical outcome.

METHODS: Using 3 Tesla MRI-scanner, we obtained T1-weighted brain images of 18 severely depressed patients at three time points: before, right after, and six months after a series of ECT. The thickness of 68 cortical regions was extracted using Free Surfer, and Linear Mixed Model was used to analyse the longitudinal changes.

RESULTS: We found significant increases in cortical thickness of 26 regions right after a series of ECT, mainly within the frontal, temporal, and insular cortex. The thickness returned to the baseline-values at six-month follow-up. We detected no significant decreases in cortical thickness. The increase in the thickness of the right lateral orbitofrontal cortex was associated with a greater antidepressant effect, r=0.75, p=0.0005. None of the regions showed any associations with cognitive side effects.

CONCLUSIONS: The increases in cortical thickness induced by ECT are transient. Further multimodal MRI studies should examine the neural correlates of these increases and their relationship with the antidepressant effect. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
JournalActa Psychiatrica Scandinavica
Volume140
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)205-216
Number of pages12
ISSN0001-690X
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2019

Bibliographical note

© 2019 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

    Research areas

  • electroconvulsive therapy, magnetic resonance imaging, major depressive disorder

ID: 57684526