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J Psychiatr Res. 2015 Nov;70:113-20. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2015.09.003. Epub 2015 Sep 10.

The emerging field of retinal electrophysiological measurements in psychiatric research: A review of the findings and the perspectives in major depressive disorder.

Author information

1
EA7298, INGRES, Université de Lorraine, Vandœuvre-lès-Nancy, France; Centre Psychothérapique de Nancy, Nancy, France; INSERM U1114, Fédération de Médecine Translationnelle de Strasbourg, Département de Psychiatrie, Centre Hospitalier Régional Universitaire de Strasbourg, Strasbourg, France. Electronic address: thomas.schwitzer@univ-lorraine.fr.
2
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA.
3
INSERM U1114, Fédération de Médecine Translationnelle de Strasbourg, Département de Psychiatrie, Centre Hospitalier Régional Universitaire de Strasbourg, Strasbourg, France.
4
EA7298, INGRES, Université de Lorraine, Vandœuvre-lès-Nancy, France; Centre Psychothérapique de Nancy, Nancy, France.
5
EA7298, INGRES, Université de Lorraine, Vandœuvre-lès-Nancy, France; Centre Psychothérapique de Nancy, Nancy, France; Maison des Addictions, CHU Nancy, Nancy, France.

Abstract

Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a severe mental illness leading to long-term disabilities. One of the current challenges in psychiatric research is to develop new approaches to investigate the pathophysiology of MDD and monitor drug response in order to provide better therapeutic strategies to the patients. Since the retina is considered as part of the central nervous system, it was suggested that it constitutes an appropriate site to investigate mental illnesses. In the past years, several teams assessed the retinal function of patients with mood disorders and many relevant abnormalities have been reported. Investigation of the retinal electrophysiological abnormalities in MDD remains a young emerging field, but we believe that the current findings are very promising and we argue that objective retinal electrophysiological measurements may eventually become relevant tools to investigate the pathophysiology of MDD. Here, we review the retinal abnormalities detected with objective electrophysiological measurements such as the flash electroretinogram (fERG), the pattern electroretinogram (PERG) and the electrooculogram (EOG) in patients with MDD. We discuss how these changes might reflect the pathophysiology of MDD in both clinical and scientific points of view, according especially to the monoamine neurotransmission deficiency hypothesis. We also discuss the technical details that must be taken into consideration for a potential use of the objective retinal electrophysiological measurements as tools to investigate the pathophysiology of MDD.

KEYWORDS:

Biological marker; Electrooculogram; Electroretinogram; Major depressive disorder; Monoamine neurotransmission; Pathophysiology

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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