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ARS Home » Plains Area » Houston, Texas » Children's Nutrition Research Center » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #312239

Research Project: Nutritional Metabolism in Mothers, Infants, and Children

Location: Children's Nutrition Research Center

Title: Major depression in mothers predict reduced ventral striatum activation in adolescent female offspring with and without depression

Author
item SHARP, CARLA - University Of Houston
item KIM, SOHYE - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)
item HERMAN, LEVI - University Of Houston
item PANE, HEATHER - University Of Houston
item REUTER, TYSON - University Of Houston
item STRATHEARN, LANE - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)

Submitted to: Journal of Abnormal Psychology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/5/2014
Publication Date: 5/8/2014
Citation: Sharp, C., Kim, S., Herman, L., Pane, H., Reuter, T., Strathearn, L. 2014. Major depression in mothers predict reduced ventral striatum activation in adolescent female offspring with and without depression. Journal of Abnormal Psychology. 123(2):298-309.

Interpretive Summary: Prior research has identified reduced reward-related brain activation as a promising endophenotype for the early identification of adolescents with major depressive disorder. However, it is unclear whether reduced reward-related brain activation constitutes a true vulnerability for major depressive disorder. 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 Research Domain Criteria -defined domain of positive valence systems as a vulnerability factor for major depressive disorder and a potential endophenotype for the development of depression.

Technical Abstract: Prior research has identified reduced reward-related brain activation as a promising endophenotype for the early identification of adolescents with major depressive disorder. However, it is unclear whether reduced reward-related brain activation constitutes a true vulnerability for major depressive disorder. 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 major depressive disorder (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 between three groups of female biological offspring (N=52) of mothers with differential major depressive disorder status: (a) currently depressed daughters of mothers with a history of major depressive disorder (major depressive disorder group; n=14), (b) age- and socioeconomic status -matched never-depressed daughters of mothers with a history of major depressive disorder (high-risk group; n=19), and (c) age- and socioeconomic status -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 Research Domain Criteria - defined domain of positive valence systems as a vulnerability factor for major depressive disorder and a potential endophenotype for the development of depression.