Altered task-based and resting-state amygdala functional connectivity following real-time fMRI amygdala neurofeedback training in major depressive disorder.

Research paper by Kymberly D KD Young, Greg J GJ Siegle, Masaya M Misaki, Vadim V Zotev, Raquel R Phillips, Wayne C WC Drevets, Jerzy J Bodurka

Indexed on: 23 Dec '17Published on: 23 Dec '17Published in: NeuroImage: Clinical


We have previously shown that in participants with major depressive disorder (MDD) trained to upregulate their amygdala hemodynamic response during positive autobiographical memory (AM) recall with real-time fMRI neurofeedback (rtfMRI-nf) training, depressive symptoms diminish. Here, we assessed the effect of rtfMRI-nf on amygdala functional connectivity during both positive AM recall and rest.The current manuscript consists of a secondary analysis on data from our published clinical trial of neurofeedback. Patients with MDD completed two rtfMRI-nf sessions (18 received amygdala rtfMRI-nf, 16 received control parietal rtfMRI-nf). One-week prior-to and following training participants also completed a resting-state fMRI scan. A GLM-based functional connectivity analysis was applied using a seed ROI in the left amygdala. We compared amygdala functional connectivity changes while recalling positive AMs from the baseline run to the final transfer run during rtfMRI-nf training, as well during rest from the baseline to the one-week follow-up visit. Finally, we assessed the correlation between change in depression scores and change in amygdala connectivity, as well as correlations between amygdala regulation success and connectivity changes.Following training, amygdala connectivity during positive AM recall increased with widespread regions in the frontal and limbic network. During rest, amygdala connectivity increased following training within the fronto-temporal-limbic network. During both task and resting-state analyses, amygdala-temporal pole connectivity decreased. We identified increased amygdala-precuneus and amygdala-inferior frontal gyrus connectivity during positive memory recall and increased amygdala-precuneus and amygdala-thalamus connectivity during rest as functional connectivity changes that explained significant variance in symptom improvement. Amygdala-precuneus connectivity changes also explain a significant amount of variance in neurofeedback regulation success.Neurofeedback training to increase amygdala hemodynamic activity during positive AM recall increased amygdala connectivity with regions involved in self-referential, salience, and reward processing. Results suggest future targets for neurofeedback interventions, particularly interventions involving the precuneus.