Decreased regional brain metabolism after ect

Am J Psychiatry. 2001 Feb;158(2):305-8. doi: 10.1176/appi.ajp.158.2.305.


Objective: The antidepressant action of ECT may be related to its anticonvulsant properties. Positron emission tomography (PET) studies of regional cerebral metabolic rate for glucose were used to test this hypothesis.

Method: Ten patients with major depression were studied with PET before and approximately 5 days after a course of bilateral ECT. Statistical parametric mapping was used to identify regions of decreased cerebral glucose metabolism.

Results: Widespread regions of decreased regional cerebral glucose metabolism were identified after ECT, especially in the frontal and parietal cortex, anterior and posterior cingulate gyrus, and left temporal cortex. A region-of-interest analysis similarly indicated post-ECT reductions in regional cerebral glucose metabolism.

Conclusions: ECT reduces neuronal activity in selected cortical regions, a potential anticonvulsant and antidepressant effect.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Depressive Disorder / metabolism
  • Depressive Disorder / therapy*
  • Electroconvulsive Therapy*
  • Female
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Frontal Lobe / diagnostic imaging
  • Frontal Lobe / metabolism
  • Functional Laterality
  • Glucose / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prefrontal Cortex / diagnostic imaging
  • Prefrontal Cortex / metabolism
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed / statistics & numerical data


  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18
  • Glucose