Hippocampal and anterior cingulate activation deficits in patients with geriatric depression

Am J Psychiatry. 2001 Aug;158(8):1321-3. doi: 10.1176/appi.ajp.158.8.1321.


Objective: The authors assessed frontotemporal function in patients with geriatric depression, a debilitating and increasingly prevalent disorder that has not been examined with brain activation paradigms.

Method: Six depressed elderly patients and five healthy comparison subjects underwent high-sensitivity [(15)O]H(2)O positron emission tomography scans during a paced word generation task and a resting condition.

Results: Bilateral activation deficits were noted in the dorsal anterior cingulate gyrus and hippocampus of the depressed geriatric patients relative to the comparison subjects. Patients had memory deficits that correlated with lower hippocampal activity during both rest and activation.

Conclusions: These initial findings suggest that hippocampal and dorsal anterior cingulate hypoactivation may constitute contributing neural substrates of geriatric depression. They also suggest that hippocampal dysfunction is related to the memory dysfunction characteristic of this disorder.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnostic imaging
  • Depressive Disorder / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Geriatric Assessment
  • Gyrus Cinguli / diagnostic imaging
  • Gyrus Cinguli / physiopathology*
  • Hippocampus / diagnostic imaging
  • Hippocampus / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory Disorders / diagnosis
  • Memory Disorders / physiopathology
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests / statistics & numerical data
  • Oxygen Radioisotopes
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed / statistics & numerical data


  • Oxygen Radioisotopes