Modulation of functional network properties in major depressive disorder following electroconvulsive therapy (ECT): a resting-state EEG analysis

Aron T. Hill, Itay Hadas, Reza Zomorrodi, Daphne Voineskos, Faranak Farzan, Paul B. Fitzgerald, Daniel M. Blumberger, Zafiris J. Daskalakis

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15 Citations (Scopus)


Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is a highly effective neuromodulatory intervention for treatment-resistant major depressive disorder (MDD). Presently, however, understanding of its neurophysiological effects remains incomplete. In the present study, we utilised resting-state electroencephalography (RS-EEG) to explore changes in functional connectivity, network topology, and spectral power elicited by an acute open-label course of ECT in a cohort of 23 patients with treatment-resistant MDD. RS-EEG was recorded prior to commencement of ECT and again within 48 h following each patient’s final treatment session. Our results show that ECT was able to enhance connectivity within lower (delta and theta) frequency bands across subnetworks largely confined to fronto-central channels, while, conversely, more widespread subnetworks of reduced connectivity emerged within faster (alpha and beta) bands following treatment. Graph-based topological analyses revealed changes in measures of functional segregation (clustering coefficient), integration (characteristic path length), and small-world architecture following ECT. Finally, post-treatment enhancement of delta and theta spectral power was observed, which showed a positive association with the number of ECT sessions received. Overall, our findings indicate that RS-EEG can provide a sensitive measure of dynamic neural activity following ECT and highlight network-based analyses as a promising avenue for furthering mechanistic understanding of the effects of convulsive therapies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number17057
Number of pages13
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 13 Oct 2020


  • depression
  • neurophysiology
  • prognostic markers

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