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Reward Processing After Catecholamine Depletion in Unmedicated, Remitted Subjects with Major Depressive Disorder


Hasler, G; Luckenbaugh, D A; Snow, J; Meyers, N; Waldeck, T; Geraci, M; Roiser, J; Knutson, B; Charney, D S; Drevets, W C (2009). Reward Processing After Catecholamine Depletion in Unmedicated, Remitted Subjects with Major Depressive Disorder. Biological Psychiatry, 66(3):201-205.

Abstract

BACKGROUND: We investigated whether performance on a reward processing task differs between fully remitted patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) and healthy control subjects after catecholamine depletion. METHODS: Seventeen unmedicated subjects with remitted MDD (RMDD) and 13 healthy control subjects underwent catecholamine depletion with oral alpha-methyl-para-tyrosine (AMPT) in a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind crossover study. The main outcome measure was the reaction time on the monetary incentive delay (MID) task. RESULTS: A diagnosis x drug interaction was evident (p = .001), which was attributable to an increase in reaction time across all incentive levels after AMPT in RMDD subjects (p = .001) but no significant AMPT effect on reaction time in control subjects (p = .17). There was no drug x diagnosis interaction on control tasks involving working memory or attention. In the RMDD sample the AMPT-induced depressive symptoms correlated with AMPT-induced changes in reaction time at all incentive levels of the MID task (r values = .58-.82, p < .002). CONCLUSIONS: Under catecholamine depletion the RMDD subjects were robustly differentiated from control subjects by development of performance deficits on a reward processing task. These performance deficits correlated directly with the return of depressive symptoms after AMPT administration. The sensitivity of central reward processing systems to reductions in brain catecholamine levels thus seems to represent a trait-like marker in MDD.

Abstract

BACKGROUND: We investigated whether performance on a reward processing task differs between fully remitted patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) and healthy control subjects after catecholamine depletion. METHODS: Seventeen unmedicated subjects with remitted MDD (RMDD) and 13 healthy control subjects underwent catecholamine depletion with oral alpha-methyl-para-tyrosine (AMPT) in a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind crossover study. The main outcome measure was the reaction time on the monetary incentive delay (MID) task. RESULTS: A diagnosis x drug interaction was evident (p = .001), which was attributable to an increase in reaction time across all incentive levels after AMPT in RMDD subjects (p = .001) but no significant AMPT effect on reaction time in control subjects (p = .17). There was no drug x diagnosis interaction on control tasks involving working memory or attention. In the RMDD sample the AMPT-induced depressive symptoms correlated with AMPT-induced changes in reaction time at all incentive levels of the MID task (r values = .58-.82, p < .002). CONCLUSIONS: Under catecholamine depletion the RMDD subjects were robustly differentiated from control subjects by development of performance deficits on a reward processing task. These performance deficits correlated directly with the return of depressive symptoms after AMPT administration. The sensitivity of central reward processing systems to reductions in brain catecholamine levels thus seems to represent a trait-like marker in MDD.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:1 August 2009
Deposited On:03 Jun 2009 05:49
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 13:14
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0006-3223
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsych.2009.02.029
PubMed ID:19393989

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