A preliminary functional magnetic resonance imaging study of prefrontal-amygdalar activation changes in adolescents with bipolar depression treated with lamotrigine

Kiki D. Chang, Christopher Wagner, Amy Garrett, Meghan Howe, Allan Reiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objectives: Hypotheses regarding mood dysregulation in bipolar disorder (BD) have centered on limbic overactivity with relative prefrontal underactivity during mood episodes. Therefore, we hypothesized that adolescents with bipolar depression successfully treated with lamotrigine would show decreases in amygdalar activation, and increases in prefrontal activation. Methods: Eight adolescents with BD underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) at baseline and after eight weeks of lamotrigine treatment. Blocks of negatively and neutrally valenced emotional pictures were presented during scanning, and subjects were asked to rate how each picture made them feel. Activation in bilateral amygdalae and dorsolateral prefrontal cortices (DLPFC) for negative minus neutral pictures was correlated with Children's Depression Rating Scale (CDRS) scores. Results: Mean (SD) CDRS scores decreased significantly, from 53.0(10.6) at baseline to 26.3(5.3) at Week8. This clinical improvement was correlated with decreased right amygdalar activation (r = 0.91, p = 0.002). At Week8, but not baseline, CDRS score was positively correlated with bilateral amygdalar activation (r = 0.85, p = 0.007). DLPFC activation was not correlated with change in CDRS score. Conclusions: These preliminary results indicate that adolescents with BD treated with lamotrigine demonstrated less amygdalar activation when viewing negative stimuli as depressive symptoms improved. Larger controlled studies are needed to confirm these findings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)426-431
Number of pages6
JournalBipolar disorders
Volume10
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2008
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Adolescents
  • Amygdala
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Lamotrigine
  • fMRI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

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