An MRI study of the superior temporal subregions in patients with current and past major depression

Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2010 Feb 1;34(1):98-103. doi: 10.1016/j.pnpbp.2009.10.005. Epub 2009 Oct 13.


The superior temporal gyrus (STG), especially its lateral portion, and temporal pole (TP) both play a central role in emotional processing, but it remains largely unknown whether patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) exhibit morphologic changes in these regions. We delineated the STG subregions [planum polare (PP), Heschl gyrus (HG), planum temporale (PT), rostral STG, and caudal STG] and TP using magnetic resonance imaging in 29 currently depressed patients (mean age=32.5 years, 7 males), 27 remitted depressed patients (mean age=35.1 years, 9 males), and 33 age- and gender-matched healthy control subjects (mean age=34.0 years, 12 males). Both current and remitted MDD patients showed a significant volume reduction of the left PT and bilateral caudal STG as compared with healthy controls. The TP volume did not differ between the groups. The right PT volume was negatively correlated with total score on the Beck Depression Inventory in the MDD patients as a whole. Medication, presence of melancholia, and comorbidity with anxiety disorders did not affect the TP and STG volumes. These findings suggest that the volume reduction of the STG, but not the TP, may represent enduring brain changes in MDD even after recovery from depression, but right STG volume may also be related to the severity of depressive symptoms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Decision Making, Computer-Assisted
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / pathology*
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality / physiology
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Male
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Temporal Lobe / pathology*