Functional brain imaging studies of youth depression: A systematic review

Rebecca Kerestes, Christopher G. Davey, Katerina Stephanou, Sarah Whittle, Ben J. Harrison

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

213 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background There is growing interest in understanding the neurobiology of major depressive disorder (MDD) in youth, particularly in the context of neuroimaging studies. This systematic review provides a timely comprehensive account of the available functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) literature in youth MDD. Methods A literature search was conducted using PubMED, PsycINFO and Science Direct databases, to identify fMRI studies in younger and older youth with MDD, spanning 13-18 and 19-25 years of age, respectively. Results Twenty-eight studies focusing on 5 functional imaging domains were identified, namely emotion processing, cognitive control, affective cognition, reward processing and resting-state functional connectivity. Elevated activity in "extended medial network" regions including the anterior cingulate, ventromedial and orbitofrontal cortices, as well as the amygdala was most consistently implicated across these five domains. For the most part, findings in younger adolescents did not differ from those in older youth; however a general comparison of findings in both groups compared to adults indicated differences in the domains of cognitive control and affective cognition. Conclusions Youth MDD is characterized by abnormal activations in ventromedial frontal regions, the anterior cingulate and amygdala, which are broadly consistent with the implicated role of medial network regions in the pathophysiology of depression. Future longitudinal studies examining the effects of neurodevelopmental changes and pubertal maturation on brain systems implicated in youth MDD will provide a more comprehensive neurobiological model of youth depression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-231
Number of pages23
JournalNeuroImage: Clinical
Volume4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)
  • Major depressive disorder (MDD)
  • Youth

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