P1vital CNS Experimental Medicine : PHARMACOLOGICAL fMRI

fMRI scan images of amygdala & hippocampus READ MORE:

Changes in serotoninergic neurotransmission have been implicated in the etiology and treatment of impulse control disorders, depression, and anxiety. Researchers in Manchester led by Prof Bill Deakin have investigated the effect of enhancing serotonin function on fundamental brain processes that may be abnormal in these disorders.

Male volunteers received citalopram (7.5 mg intravenously) and placebo pretreatment in a single-blind crossover design before undertaking Go/No-go, Loss/No-loss, and covert (aversive) face emotion recognition tasks during functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Blood oxygenation level dependent responses were analyzed using Statistical Parametric Mapping (SPM2).The tasks activated prefrontal and subcortical regions generally consistent with literature with lateral orbitofrontal cortex (BA47) common to the three tasks. Citalopram pretreatment enhanced the right BA47 responses to the No-go condition, but attenuated this response to aversive faces. Attenuations were seen following citalopram in the medial orbitofrontal (BA11) responses to the No-go and No-loss (i.e. relative reward compared with Loss) conditions. The right amygdala response to aversive faces was attenuated by citalopram. These results support the involvement of serotonin in modulating basic processes involved in psychiatric disorders. The technique of combining drug challenge with fMRI (pharmacoMRI) has promise for investigating human psychiatric disorders and has the potential to be an add on to studies on depression to confirm brain activation.