The functional neuroanatomy of depression: distinct roles for ventromedial and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex

Behav Brain Res. 2009 Aug 12;201(2):239-43. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2009.03.004. Epub 2009 Mar 17.


A primary aim in the neuroscientific study of depression is to identify the brain areas involved in the pathogenesis of symptoms. In this review, we describe evidence from studies employing various experimental approaches in humans (functional imaging, lesion method, and brain stimulation) that converge to implicate the ventromedial and dorsolateral sectors of prefrontal cortex as critical neural substrates for depression, albeit with distinct functional contributions. The putative roles of ventromedial and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex in depression are discussed in light of the results.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain Mapping / methods*
  • Depression / pathology*
  • Depression / physiopathology
  • Depressive Disorder / pathology*
  • Depressive Disorder / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Prefrontal Cortex / pathology*
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiopathology
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation