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[Application of pharmacologic functional magnetic resonance imaging (phMRI) in the research of affective disorders]

Andrea Edit Édes, Xénia Gonda, György Bagdy, Gabriella Juhász
Neuropsychopharmacologia Hungarica 2014, 16 (2): 59-66
24978048
Many common psychiatric disorders such as depression and anxiety disorders are associated with dysfunction in the monoamine neurotransmission in the central nervous system. However, the investigation of these pathophysiological processes in the human living brain is difficult. In case of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), a non-invasive method for the examination of brain activity, the activity-inducing stimulus is generally a cognitive psychological test, while during pharmacological magnetic resonance imaging (phMRI) the activation is triggered by a specific pharmacon. In the present work we review the available scientific literature related to this method using literature search in PubMed. Through application of a selective pharmacon like the selective serotonine reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) citalopram or escitalopram in a challenge phMRI study, the serotonergic neurotransmitter system can be examined specifically, the functioning brain areas involved in its effect become observable.. With modulation phMRI we can monitor the long-term effect of an antidepressant or we can examine the immediate effect of a single dose of the medication on congitive psychological functions like emotional processing. Thus, the application of phMRI methods may help deepen our understanding of serotonergic function in the living human brain as well as of diseases related to serotonergic neurotransmitter system dysfunction.

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