Short-term duloxetine administration affects neural correlates of mood-congruent memory

Neuropsychopharmacology. 2011 Oct;36(11):2266-75. doi: 10.1038/npp.2011.114. Epub 2011 Jul 20.


It is unknown how antidepressants reverse mood-congruent memory bias, a cognitive core factor causing and maintaining depression. Using a double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over design, we investigated the effect of a short-term treatment (14 days) with the dual reuptake inhibitor duloxetine on neural correlates of mood-congruent and mood-incongruent memory formation and retrieval in healthy volunteers who underwent a sad mood induction procedure. Duloxetine did not affect acute mood state or memory performance, but interacted with brain processes mediating mood-congruent memory. It decreased activity related to successful memory formation for mood-congruent and -incongruent items in a set of brain regions comprising the putamen and the middle frontal gyrus, as well as the middle and the anterior cingulate cortex. Duloxetine specifically increased amygdala activity related to successful memory retrieval for mood-incongruent items. Here we show that short-term administration of duloxetine affects the neural correlates of emotional memory formation and retrieval in a set of brain regions whose processing is related to affective state and its regulation. While duloxetine suppressed the neural correlates of emotional memory formation in general, it specifically enhanced amygdala processes associated with mood-incongruent memory retrieval. This pattern of results shows how an antidepressant may reduce emotional memory formation and reverse mood-congruent processing biases at retrieval.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Affect / drug effects*
  • Affect / physiology
  • Antidepressive Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Brain / drug effects
  • Brain / physiology
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Duloxetine Hydrochloride
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory / drug effects*
  • Memory / physiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Neurons / drug effects*
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Thiophenes / administration & dosage*
  • Young Adult


  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Thiophenes
  • Duloxetine Hydrochloride