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Major depression in mothers predicts reduced ventral striatum activation in adolescent female offspring with and without depression



Major depression in mothers predicts reduced ventral striatum activation in adolescent female offspring with and without depression



Journal of Abnormal Psychology 123(2): 298-309



Prior research has identified reduced reward-related brain activation as a promising endophenotype for the early identification of adolescents with major depressive disorder (MDD). However, it is unclear whether reduced reward-related brain activation constitutes a true vulnerability for MDD. One way of studying vulnerability is through a high-risk design. Therefore, the aim of the current study was to determine whether reward-related activation of the ventral striatum is reduced in nondepressed daughters of mothers with a history of MDD (high-risk) similarly to currently depressed adolescent girls, compared with healthy controls. By directly comparing groups with a shared risk profile during differing states, we aimed to shed light on the endophenotypic nature of reduced reward processing for adolescent depression. We compared reward-related neural activity through functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) between three groups of female biological offspring (N = 52) of mothers with differential MDD status: (a) currently depressed daughters of mothers with a history of MDD (MDD group; n = 14), (b) age- and socioeconomic status (SES)-matched never-depressed daughters of mothers with a history of MDD (high-risk group; n = 19), and (c) age- and SES-matched control daughters of mothers with no past or current psychopathology in either the mother or the daughter (healthy control group; n = 19). For the outcome phase of the reward task, right-sided ventral striatum activation was reduced for both currently depressed and high-risk girls compared with healthy controls. This ventral striatal activity correlated significantly with maternal depression scores. These findings provide further evidence of aberrant functioning for the United States Department of Health & Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Research Domain Criteria (RDoC)-defined domain of positive valence systems as a vulnerability factor for MDD and a potential endophenotype for the development of depression.

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Accession: 054226455

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 24886004

DOI: 10.1037/a0036191


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