A longitudinal study of the association between basal ganglia volumes and psychomotor symptoms in subjects with late life depression undergoing ECT

M. G. A. van Cauwenberge*, F. Bouckaert, K. Vansteelandt, C. Adamson, F. L. de Winter, P. Sienaert, J. van den Stock, A. Dols, D. Rhebergen, M. L. Stek, L. Emsell, M. Vandenbulcke

*Corresponding author for this work

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Psychomotor dysfunction (PMD) is a core element and key contributor to disability in late life depression (LLD), which responds well to electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). The neurobiology of PMD and its response to ECT are not well understood. We hypothesized that PMD in LLD is associated with lower striatal volume, and that striatal volume increase following ECT explains PMD improvement. We analyzed data from a two-center prospective cohort study of 110 LLD subjects (>55 years) receiving ECT. Brain MRI and assessment of mood, cognition, and PMD was performed 1 week before, 1 week after, and 6 months after ECT. Volumetry of the caudate nucleus, putamen, globus pallidus, and nucleus accumbens was derived from automatically segmented brain MRIs using Freesurfer®. Linear multiple regression analyses were used to study associations between basal ganglia volume and PMD. Brain MRI was available for 66 patients 1 week post ECT and in 22 patients also six months post ECT. Baseline PMD was associated with a smaller left caudate nucleus. One week after ECT, PMD improved and volume increases were detected bilaterally in the caudate nucleus and putamen, and in the right nucleus accumbens. Improved PMD after ECT did not relate to the significant volume increases in these structures, but was predicted by a nonsignificant volume change in the right globus pallidus. No volume differences were detected 6 months after ECT, compared to baseline. Although PMD is related to lower striatal volume in LLD, ECT-induced increase of striatal volume does not explain PMD improvement.
Original languageEnglish
Article number199
JournalTranslational psychiatry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2021

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