Differential prefrontal and subcortical circuitry engagement during encoding of semantically related words in patients with late-life depression

Sara L. Weisenbach, Michelle T. Kassel, Julia Rao, Annie L. Weldon, Erich T. Avery, Emily M. Briceno, Olusola Ajilore, Megan Mann, Helen C. Kales, Robert C. Welsh, Jon Kar Zubieta, Scott A. Langenecker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: Verbal memory difficulties are common among individuals with late-life depression (LLD), though there is limited knowledge about disruptions to underlying cerebral circuitry. The purpose of this study is to examine aberrations to cerebral networks implicated in encoding novel verbal semantic material among older adults with LLD. Methods: Twenty-four older adults with early-onset LLD and 23 non-depressed comparisons participated in the study. Participants completed a word list-learning task while undergoing functional magnetic resonance imaging. Results: In the context of equivalent recall and recognition of words following scanning and similar hippocampal volumes, patients with LLD exhibited less activation in structures known to be relevant for new learning and memory, including hippocampus, parahippocampal gyrus, insula, and cingulate, relative to non-ill comparisons. An important region in which the LLD group displayed greater activation than the non-depressed comparison group was in left inferior frontal gyrus, an area involved in cognitive control and controlled semantic/phonological retrieval and analysis; this region may be critical for LLD patients to consolidate encoded words into memory. Conclusions: Functional irregularities found in LLD patients may reflect different modes of processing to-be-remembered information and/or early changes predictive of incipient cognitive decline. Future studies might consider mechanisms that could contribute to these functional differences, including hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis functioning and vascular integrity, and utilize longitudinal designs in order to understand whether functional changes are predictive of incipient cognitive decline.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1104-1115
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Volume29
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2014
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Aging
  • Depression
  • Hippocampus
  • Memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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    Weisenbach, S. L., Kassel, M. T., Rao, J., Weldon, A. L., Avery, E. T., Briceno, E. M., Ajilore, O., Mann, M., Kales, H. C., Welsh, R. C., Zubieta, J. K., & Langenecker, S. A. (2014). Differential prefrontal and subcortical circuitry engagement during encoding of semantically related words in patients with late-life depression. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 29(11), 1104-1115. https://doi.org/10.1002/gps.4165