Neural systems approaches to understanding major depressive disorder: an intrinsic functional organization perspective

Neurobiol Dis. 2013 Apr;52:4-11. doi: 10.1016/j.nbd.2012.01.015. Epub 2012 Feb 10.


Recent research detailing the intrinsic functional organization of the brain provides a unique and useful framework to gain a better understanding of the neural bases of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). In this review, we first present a brief history of neuroimaging research that has increased our understanding of the functional macro-architecture of the brain. From this macro-architectural perspective, we examine the extant body of functional neuroimaging research assessing MDD with a specific emphasis on the contributions of default-mode, executive, and salience networks in this debilitating disorder. Next, we describe recent investigations conducted in our laboratory in which we explicitly adopt a neural-system perspective in examining the relations among these networks in MDD. Finally, we offer directions for future research that we believe will facilitate the development of more detailed and integrative models of neural dysfunction in depression.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Brain / physiopathology*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / physiopathology*
  • Executive Function / physiology
  • Functional Neuroimaging
  • Humans
  • Nerve Net / physiopathology*
  • Neurons / physiology*