Exposure to Blue Wavelength Light Is Associated With Increases in Bidirectional Amygdala-DLPFC Connectivity at Rest

Front Neurol. 2021 Mar 26;12:625443. doi: 10.3389/fneur.2021.625443. eCollection 2021.


Blue wavelength light has been used successfully as a treatment method for certain mood disorders, but, the underlying mechanisms behind the mood enhancing effects of light remain poorly understood. We investigated the effects of a single dose of 30 min of blue wavelength light (n = 17) vs. amber wavelength light (n = 12) exposure in a sample of healthy adults on subsequent resting-state functional and directed connectivity, and associations with changes in state affect. Individuals who received blue vs. amber wavelength light showed greater positive connectivity between the right amygdala and a region within the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC). In addition, using granger causality, the findings showed that individuals who received blue wavelength light displayed greater bidirectional information flow between these two regions relative to amber light. Furthermore, the strength of amygdala-DLPFC functional connectivity was associated with greater decreases in negative mood for the blue, but not the amber light condition. Blue light exposure may positively influence mood by modulating greater information flow between the amygdala and the DLPFC, which may result in greater engagement of cognitive control strategies that are needed to perceive and regulate arousal and mood.

Keywords: PFC; amygdala; depression; fMRI; light therapy; neuroimaging.