Longitudinal effects of rTMS on neuroplasticity in chronic treatment-resistant depression
Number of pages
SourceEuropean Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience, 271, 1, (2021), pp. 39-47
Article / Letter to editor
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PI Group Motivational & Cognitive Control
PI Group Statistical Imaging Neuroscience
SW OZ BSI KLP
PI Group Memory and Emotion
European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience
Subject170 000 Motivational & Cognitive Control; 220 Statistical Imaging Neuroscience; Experimental Psychopathology and Treatment; Radboudumc 13: Stress-related disorders DCMN: Donders Center for Medical Neuroscience
Major depressive disorder (MDD) is amongst the most prevalent of psychiatric disorders. Unfortunately, a third of patients will not respond to conventional treatments and suffer from treatment-resistant depression (TRD). Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) has been proven effective in treating TRD. The research suggests that rTMS acts via neuroplastic effects on the brain, which can be measured by changes in hippocampal and amygdala volume as well as cortical thickness. This sham-controlled study investigates longitudinal effects of rTMS on the volumes of the hippocampus and amygdala and cortical thickness in patients with chronic TRD. 31 patients received 20 sessions of high-frequency rTMS (N = 15) or sham treatment (N = 16) over the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex during 4 consecutive weeks. Using structural magnetic resonance imaging, we investigated longitudinal treatment effects on hippocampus and amygdala volume as well as thickness of the paralimbic cortex. We found no clinical differences between the active and sham rTMS group. Longitudinal changes in hippocampal and amygdala volume did not differ significantly, although males showed a significant decrease in left amygdala volume, irrespective of treatment group. Changes in cortical thickness of the paralimbic cortex differed significantly between the active and sham groups. Most notably, the increase in cortical thickness of the isthmus of the left cingulate gyrus was greater in the active as compared to the sham rTMS group. Our data suggest that rTMS can induce neuroplastic changes, particularly in cortical thickness, independent of treatment response. We also found longitudinal changes in amygdala volume in males. For clinical effects to follow these neuroplastic effects, more intensive rTMS treatment might be needed in chronically depressed patients.
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