Human amygdala engagement moderated by early life stress exposure is a biobehavioral target for predicting recovery on antidepressants

Andrea N. Goldstein-Piekarski, Mayuresh S. Korgaonkar, Erin Green, Trisha Suppes, Alan F. Schatzberg, Trevor Hastie, Charles Nemeroff, Leanne M. Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Scopus citations

Abstract

Amygdala circuitry and early life stress (ELS) are both strongly and independently implicated in the neurobiology of depression. Importantly, animal models have revealed that the contribution of ELS to the development and maintenance of depression is likely a consequence of structural and physiological changes in amygdala circuitry in response to stress hormones. Despite these mechanistic foundations, amygdala engagement and ELS have not been investigated as biobehavioral targets for predicting functional remission in translational human studies of depression. Addressing this question, we integrated human neuroimaging and measurement of ELS within a controlled trial of antidepressant outcomes. Here we demonstrate that the interaction between amygdala activation engaged by emotional stimuli and ELS predicts functional remission on antidepressants with a greater than 80% cross-validated accuracy. Our model suggests that in depressed people with high ELS, the likelihood of remission is highest with greater amygdala reactivity to socially rewarding stimuli, whereas for those with low-ELS exposure, remission is associated with lower amygdala reactivity to both rewarding and threat-related stimuli. This full model predicted functional remission over and above the contribution of demographics, symptom severity, ELS, and amygdala reactivity alone. These findings identify a human target for elucidating the mechanisms of antidepressant functional remission and offer a target for developing novel therapeutics. The results also offer a proof-of-concept for using neuroimaging as a target for guiding neuroscience-informed intervention decisions at the level of the individual person.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11955-11960
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume113
Issue number42
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 18 2016

Keywords

  • Amygdala
  • Antidepressant remission
  • Early life stress
  • Human brain imaging
  • Predictive biomarkers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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