Neural mechanisms of cognitive reappraisal in remitted major depressive disorder.
BACKGROUND: Down-regulation of negative emotions by cognitive strategies relies on prefrontal cortical modulation of limbic brain regions, and impaired frontolimbic functioning during cognitive reappraisal has been observed in affective disorders. However, no study to date has examined cognitive reappraisal in unmedicated euthymic individuals with a history of major depressive disorder relative to symptom-matched controls. Given that a history of depression is a critical risk factor for future depressive episodes, investigating the neural mechanisms of emotion regulation in remitted major depressive disorder (rMDD) may yield novel insights into depression risk. METHOD: We assessed 37 individuals (18 rMDD, 19 controls) with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) during a task requiring cognitive reappraisal of sad images. RESULTS: Both groups demonstrated decreased self-reported negative affect after cognitive reappraisal and no group differences in the effects of cognitive reappraisal on mood were evident. Functional MRI results indicated greater paracingulate gyrus (rostral anterior cingulate cortex, Brodmann area 32) activation and decreased right midfrontal gyrus (Brodmann area 6) activation during the reappraisal of sad images. LIMITATIONS: Trial-by-trial ratings of pre-regulation affect were not collected, limiting the interpretation of post-regulation negative affect scores. CONCLUSIONS: Results suggest that activation of rostral anterior cingulate cortex, a region linked to the prediction of antidepressant treatment response, and of the right midfrontal gyrus, a region involved in cognitive control in the context of cognitive reappraisal, may represent endophenotypic markers of future depression risk. Future prospective studies will be needed to validate the predictive utility of these neural markers.
Smoski, MJ; Keng, S-L; Schiller, CE; Minkel, J; Dichter, GS
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