Relationship Between Hippocampal Volume, Serum BDNF, and Depression Severity Following Electroconvulsive Therapy in Late-Life Depression
BACKGROUND Although the clinical efficacy of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is well established, the underlying mechanisms of action remain elusive. The aim of this study was to elucidate structural changes of the brain following ECT in patients with major depressive disorder (MDD). METHOD Fifteen patients with MDD underwent magnetic resonance imaging scanning before and after ECT. Their gray matter volumes were compared between pre- and post-ECT. RESULTS There were significant volume increases after ECT in the bilateral medial temporal cortices, inferior temporal cortices, and right anterior cingulate. Further, the increase ratio was correlated with the clinical improvement measured by the Hamilton Depression Rating scale. LIMITATION All subjects were treated with antidepressants that could have a neurotoxic or neuroprotective effect on the brain. CONCLUSIONS We found that there were significant increases of gray matter volume in medial temporal lobes following ECT, suggesting that a neurotrophic effect of ECT could play a role in its therapeutic effect.