Simultaneous EEG/fMRI recorded during ketamine infusion in patients with major depressive disorder

Rebecca McMillan, Rachael Sumner, Anna Forsyth, Doug Campbell, Gemma Malpas, Elizabeth Maxwell, Carolyn Deng, John Hay, Rhys Ponton, Frederick Sundram, Suresh Muthukumaraswamy
Progress in Neuro-psychopharmacology & Biological Psychiatry 2020 April 20, 99: 109838
A single subanaesthetic dose of ketamine rapidly alleviates the symptoms of major depressive disorder (MDD). However, few studies have investigated the acute effects of ketamine on the BOLD pharmacological magnetic resonance imaging (phMRI) response and EEG spectra. In a randomised, double-blind, active placebo-controlled crossover trial, resting-state simultaneous EEG/fMRI was collected during infusion of ketamine or active placebo (remifentanil) in 30 participants with MDD. Montgomery-Asberg depression rating scale scores showed a significant antidepressant effect of ketamine compared to placebo (69% response rate). phMRI analyses showed BOLD signal increases in the anterior cingulate and medial prefrontal cortices and sensitivity of the decrease in subgenual anterior cingulate cortex (sgACC) BOLD signal to noise correction. EEG spectral analysis showed increased theta, high beta, low and high gamma power, and decreased delta, alpha, and low beta power with differing time-courses. Low beta and high gamma power time courses explained significant variance in the BOLD signal. Interestingly, the variance explained by high gamma power was significantly associated with non-response to ketamine, but significant associations were not found for other neurophysiological markers when noise correction was implemented. The results suggest that the decrease in sgACC BOLD signal is potentially noise and unrelated to ketamine's antidepressant effect, highlighting the importance of noise correction and multiple temporal regressors for phMRI analyses. The lack of effects significantly associated with antidepressant response suggests the phMRI methodology employed was unable to detect such effects, the effect sizes are relatively small, or that other processes, e.g. neural plasticity, underlie ketamine's antidepressant effect.

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