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Psychiatry Res. 2011 Jan 30;191(1):1-8. doi: 10.1016/j.pscychresns.2010.08.013. Epub 2010 Dec 3.

Heart rate variability during motor and cognitive tasks in females with major depressive disorder.

Author information

  • 1Section on Neuroimaging in Mood Disorders, NIMH/NIH, Bethesda, MD 20892-1030, USA. nugenta@mail.nih.gov

Abstract

Research indicates that major depressive disorder (MDD) is associated with alterations in autonomic control, particularly cardiac control as measured by heart rate variability (HRV). In this preliminary study, we investigated the neural correlates of autonomic control by measuring both HRV and associated brain activity during the performance of mildly stressful tasks. Medically healthy female subjects with MDD (N=10) and healthy controls (N=7) underwent H(2)(15)O-positron emission tomography (PET) and electrocardiographic ECG recording while performing a handgrip motor task and an n-back task. Indices of HRV were calculated and correlated with regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF). Differences in the rCBF and HRV correlations between depressed and healthy subjects were evident in both the medial and lateral orbital cortices. In addition, these areas appeared to be involved in different facets of autonomic control with regard to sympathetic or parasympathetic dominance of cardiac control. These results are consistent with the known roles of networks within the orbital cortex in both autonomic control and the pathophysiology of MDD.

Published by Elsevier Ireland Ltd.

PMID:
21129936
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3032348
Free PMC Article
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