Molecular imaging for depressive disorders.
Molecular imaging is the visualization, characterization, and measurement of biologic processes at the molecular and cellular levels in humans and other living systems. Molecular imaging techniques such as MR spectroscopy and PET have been used to explore the molecular pathophysiology of depression and assess treatment responses. MR spectroscopy is a noninvasive technique that assesses the levels of biochemical metabolites in the brain, while PET uses radioligands injected in the bloodstream that have high binding affinity for target molecules. MR spectroscopy findings suggest a role for glutamate/glutamine and gamma-aminobutyric acid in depression. PET has generally failed to find a correlation between radioligand binding potential and depression severity or treatment response, though it may offer promise in distinguishing responders and nonresponders to treatment. A major challenge for both modalities is that depression is a heterogeneous, multifactorial disorder, while MR spectroscopy and PET are limited to examining a few metabolites or a single radioligand at a time. This difference makes a comprehensive evaluation of neurochemical changes in the brain difficult.
Lee, T-S; Quek, SY; Krishnan, KRR
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