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Enhanced brainstem cerebral blood flow accompanies symptoms of anhedonia in young adults

Graur, Simona and Chase, Henry W and Kim, Tae and Stiffler, Richelle and Greenberg, Tsafrir and Aslam, Haris and Lockovich, Jeanette and Bebko, Genna and Phillips, Mary L (2016) Enhanced brainstem cerebral blood flow accompanies symptoms of anhedonia in young adults. In: 71st Society of Biological Psychiatry Annual Meeting 2016, 12 May 2016 - 14 May 2016, Atlanta, GA, USA.

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Study: Midbrain serotonergic projections are of crucial theoretical significance for mood disorders. Furthermore, learned helplessness (LH) is associated with enhanced metabolic activity in rodent serotonergic midbrain models. However, little evidence supports serotonergic projections in predicting illness severity. We employed arterial spin labeling (ASL) to measure whole brain cerebral blood flow (CBF) in distressed and healthy individuals varying in anxiety and anhedonia. Methods: 36 distressed (27 females; mean age=22.2, SD=2.1) and 34 healthy (19 females; mean age=21.5, SD=1.8) individuals underwent a resting acquisition. Blood flow was measured using a multiband pseudo continuous ASL sequence. Regional cerebral perfusion data was collected with 25 slices, multiband factor=5, 4mm slick thickness, FA=90, 64x64 resolution, FOV=192x912, TR/TE=3.5s/19ms, labeling time=1.5s and postlabeling delay=1.7s. Anhedonia was measured using the Mood and Anxiety Symptom Questionnaire Anhedonic Depression Scale (MASQ-ADS), with the Snaith–Hamilton Pleasure Scale (SHAPS) as a secondary measure. Anxiety was measured using the MASQ General Distress Anxious Symptoms Scale. Anhedonia, anxiety and group were included in the regression model. Results: Anhedonia (MASQ-ADS) was associated with increased CBF in the midbrain (T=5.24, p_FWE=0.033), proximal to putative locations of the dorsal/median raphe nuclei (-12, -34, -26). Similar, although weaker, findings were observed with the SHAPS. Conclusion: Anhedonia is associated with altered CBF in the midbrain in a young adult population showing heterogeneous symptoms of distress. Significance: ASL may provide a particularly promising tool to examine enhanced local perfusion, potentially reflecting underlying midbrain serotonergic activity, which is predicted on the basis of LH studies in rodents but has thus far been difficult to investigate in humans.


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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Poster)
Status: Published
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Graur, Simona
Chase, Henry Whwc2@pitt.eduHWC2
Kim, Taetak19@pitt.eduTAK19
Stiffler, Richelle
Greenberg, Tsafrir
Aslam, Haris
Lockovich, Jeanette
Bebko, Gennagmb35@pitt.eduGMB35
Phillips, Mary L
Date: 24 May 2016
Date Type: Publication
Journal or Publication Title: F1000 Research
Publisher: F1000 Research Ltd.
Event Title: 71st Society of Biological Psychiatry Annual Meeting 2016
Event Dates: 12 May 2016 - 14 May 2016
Event Type: Conference
Schools and Programs: School of Medicine > Psychiatry
School of Medicine > Radiation Oncology
Refereed: No
Uncontrolled Keywords: ASL, Midbrain, CBF
ISSN: 2046-1402
Official URL:
Additional Information: Competing Interests: No competing interests were disclosed
Date Deposited: 29 Nov 2016 20:30
Last Modified: 31 Jul 2020 19:12


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