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Neural network-based alterations during repeated heat pain stimulation in major depression

By Edda Bilek, Zhenxiang Zang, Isabella Wolf, Florian Henrich, Carolin Mößnang, Urs Braun, Rolf-Detlef Treede, Walter Magerl, Andreas Meyer-Lindenberg, Heike Tost

Posted 18 Feb 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/553842

The current study aimed to identify alterations in brain activation and connectivity related to nociceptive processing and pain sensitization in major depressive disorder (MDD), using repeated heat pain stimulation during functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in 37 MDD patients and 33 healthy controls. Regional activation did not differ between groups, but functional connectivity was significantly decreased in MDD in a neural network connecting frontal, temporal and occipital areas (family-wise error (FWE)-corrected p = 0.045). Supplemental analyses suggested a significant association between network connectivity and trait neuroticism (p = 0.007) but not with the clinical state or familiar risk of MDD (all p values > 0.13). Our data relate a network-based phenotype for altered pain processing and antinociceptive control to MDD and encourage future studies on the shared intermediate neural psychological risk architecture of MDD and chronic pain.

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