Neurofunctional Correlates of Response to Quetiapine in Adolescents with Bipolar Depression

Kiki Chang, Melissa DelBello, Amy Garrett, Ryan Kelley, Meghan Howe, Cal Adler, Jeffrey Welge, Stephen M. Strakowski, Manpreet Singh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Objectives: Prior studies have shown that youth with bipolar disorder demonstrate neurofunctional changes in key prefrontal and subcortical brain regions implicated in emotional regulation following treatment with pharmacological agents. We recently reported a large response rate (>60%) to quetiapine (QUET) for treating depressive symptoms in adolescents with bipolar depression. This study investigates the neurofunctional effects of QUET using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Methods: Thirty-three unmedicated subjects, 10-17 years of age, with a current depressive episode (Children's Depression Rating Scale-Revised [CDRS-R] > 40) associated with bipolar I or II disorder were recruited in a two-site randomized, placebo (PBO)-controlled trial of QUET monotherapy for treatment of bipolar depression in adolescents. Twenty-three of these participants (nine male) underwent an MRI scan at baseline, then were randomized to QUET or PBO, followed for 8 weeks, and at the end of their study participation underwent another MRI scan. During the fMRI scan, subjects viewed negative and neutral pictures and rated the valence of each picture. Results: Sixteen subjects had usable data at both time points: 10 subjects randomized to QUET, and 6 randomized to PBO. For QUET subjects, lower baseline activation in the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (p < 0.005) and higher baseline activation in the left ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (p = 0.0024) predicted greater improvement in CDRS-R scores from baseline to follow-up. When QUET and PBO groups were combined (n = 16), region-of-interest activation did not significantly predict change in CDRS-R. Conclusions: Baseline activation patterns in dorsal and ventral portions of the prefrontal cortex that are critical for the regulation of emotion-predicted response, but only within the QUET group. Thus, specific medications may be more effective in the context of specific prefrontal activation patterns in youth with bipolar depression. Larger studies of these youth would help to clarify the effects of QUET on brain activation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)379-386
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 2018


  • adolescents
  • bipolar disorders
  • fMRI
  • quetiapine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


Dive into the research topics of 'Neurofunctional Correlates of Response to Quetiapine in Adolescents with Bipolar Depression'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this