Neuroimaging and neuropathological studies of depression: implications for the cognitive-emotional features of mood disorders

Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2001 Apr;11(2):240-9. doi: 10.1016/s0959-4388(00)00203-8.


Neuroimaging technology has provided unprecedented opportunities for elucidating the anatomical correlates of major depression. The knowledge gained from imaging research and from the postmortem studies that have been guided by imaging data is catalyzing a paradigm shift in which primary mood disorders are conceptualized as illnesses that involve abnormalities of brain structure, as well as of brain function. These data suggest specific hypotheses regarding the neural mechanisms underlying pathological emotional processing in mood disorders. They particularly support a role for dysfunction within the prefrontal cortical and striatal systems that normally modulate limbic and brainstem structures involved in mediating emotional behavior in the pathogenesis of depressive symptoms.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amygdala / blood supply
  • Amygdala / pathology
  • Brain / blood supply
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / pathology
  • Emotions / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Mood Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Mood Disorders / pathology
  • Prefrontal Cortex / blood supply
  • Prefrontal Cortex / pathology
  • Social Behavior Disorders / pathology
  • Social Behavior Disorders / psychology
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed / methods