Psychopharmacology

, Volume 213, Issue 2–3, pp 555–562

Diminished brain 5-HT transporter binding in major depression: a positron emission tomography study with [11C]DASB

  • Sudhakar Selvaraj
  • Naga Venkatesha Murthy
  • Zubin Bhagwagar
  • Subrata K. Bose
  • Rainer Hinz
  • Paul M. Grasby
  • Philip J. Cowen
Original Investigation

Abstract

Background

The serotonin transporter (5-HTT) plays a critical role in the regulation of serotonin neurotransmission and has been implicated in the pathophysiology of major depression. In a previous positron emission tomography study, we found no difference in brain 5-HTT binding between unmedicated recovered depressed patients and healthy controls.

Aim

This study aims to assess brain 5-HTT binding in a group of unmedicated acutely depressed patients in comparison to healthy controls.

Methods

We studied 5-HTT binding using [11C]DASB in conjunction with positron emission tomography in 12 medication-free depressed patients with a mean duration of illness of about 1 year and 24 healthy controls.

Results

The depressed patients had lowered 5-HTT binding in several brain regions including brain stem, thalamus, caudate, putamen, anterior cingulate cortex and frontal cortex.

Conclusions

These results suggest that diminished availability of the 5-HTT in the brain may be a state marker of acute depression. Alternatively, low 5-HTT binding may delineate a group of depressed patients with a poor long-term prognosis.

Keywords

Serotonin Serotonin transporter [11C]DASB Depression Mood disorder PET 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sudhakar Selvaraj
    • 1
    • 2
  • Naga Venkatesha Murthy
    • 3
  • Zubin Bhagwagar
    • 4
  • Subrata K. Bose
    • 2
  • Rainer Hinz
    • 5
  • Paul M. Grasby
    • 2
  • Philip J. Cowen
    • 1
  1. 1.University Department of PsychiatryWarneford HospitalOxfordUK
  2. 2.Medical Research Council Cyclotron UnitHammersmith HospitalLondonUK
  3. 3.GSK CICImperial College LondonLondonUK
  4. 4.Department of PsychiatryYale UniversityNewhavenUSA
  5. 5.Wolfson Molecular Imaging CentreUniversity of ManchesterManchesterUK

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