Neural circuits underlying the pathophysiology of mood disorders

Trends Cogn Sci. 2012 Jan;16(1):61-71. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2011.12.011. Epub 2011 Dec 21.


Although mood disorders constitute leading causes of disability, until recently little was known about their pathogenesis. The delineation of anatomical networks that support emotional behavior (mainly derived from animal studies) and the development of neuroimaging technologies that allow in vivo characterization of anatomy, physiology, and neurochemistry in human subjects with mood disorders have enabled significant advances towards elucidating the pathophysiology of major depressive disorder (MDD) and bipolar disorder (BD). In this review, we integrate insights from human and animal studies, which collectively suggest that MDD and BD involve dysfunction within an extended network including the medial prefrontal cortex and anatomically-related limbic, striatal, thalamic and basal forebrain structures.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bipolar Disorder / physiopathology*
  • Brain / physiopathology
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Limbic System / physiopathology*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Neural Pathways / physiopathology*
  • Neuroanatomy
  • Neuroimaging
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiopathology*