Reward‐ and threat‐related neural function associated with risk and presence of depression in adolescents: a study using a composite risk score in Brazil

Leehyun Yoon, Fernanda Rohrsetzer, Lucas Battel, Mauricio Anés, Pedro H. Manfro, Luis Augusto Rohde, Anna Viduani, Zuzanna Zajkowska, Valeria Mondelli*, Christian Kieling, Johnna R. Swartz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

Background: Neuroimaging studies on adolescents at risk for depression have relied on a single risk factor and focused on adolescents in high-income countries. Using a composite risk score, this study aims to examine neural activity and connectivity associated with risk and presence of depression in adolescents in Brazil. Methods: Depression risk was defined with the Identifying Depression Early in Adolescence Risk Score (IDEA-RS), calculated using a prognostic model that included 11 socio-demographic risk factors. Adolescents recruited from schools in Porto Alegre were classified into a low-risk (i.e., low IDEA-RS and no lifetime depression), high-risk (i.e., high IDEA-RS and no lifetime depression), or clinically depressed group (i.e., high IDEA-RS and depression diagnosis). One hundred fifty adolescents underwent a functional MRI scan while completing a reward-related gambling and a threat-related face-matching task. We compared group differences in activity and connectivity of the ventral striatum (VS) and amygdala during the gambling and face-matching tasks, respectively, and group differences in whole-brain neural activity. Results: Although there was no group difference in reward-related VS or threat-related amygdala activity, the depressed group showed elevated VS activity to punishment relative to high-risk adolescents. The whole-brain analysis found reduced reward-related activity in the lateral prefrontal cortex of patients and high-risk adolescents compared with low-risk adolescents. Compared with low-risk adolescents, high-risk and depressed adolescents showed reduced threat-related left amygdala connectivity with thalamus, superior temporal gyrus, inferior parietal gyrus, precentral gyrus, and supplementary motor area. Conclusions: We identified neural correlates associated with risk and presence of depression in a well-characterized sample of adolescents. These findings enhance knowledge of the neurobiological underpinnings of risk and presence of depression in Brazil. Future longitudinal studies are needed to examine whether the observed neural patterns of high-risk adolescents predict the development of depression.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry
Early online date6 Aug 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 6 Aug 2021

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