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C5 - Altered brain activation and connectivity and its genetic modulation in depression and ageing

Principal investigator(s):

Abteilung Klinische Psychologie
Zentralinstitut für Seelische Gesundheit (ZI)
J5, D-68159 Mannheim


Zentralinstitut für Seelische Gesundheit
J 5
68159 Mannheim


Projects within the BCCN:

Subproject C5 had both empirical as well as methodological goals and aimed at the characterization of functional brain networks by functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), especially with regard to their genetic modulation under conditions like ageing, depression, and schizophrenia. Due to delays in subject recruitment and genetic analyses during the funding period, we focussed on the development and implementation of innovative methodological approaches for brain network analysis (Bernal et al. 2013, Gerchen et al. 2014). We could show that in a well-defined dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) – hippocampus network, the causal top-down influence of the DLPFC during a working memory task can be reproducibly detected in different samples by stochastic dynamic causal modelling (Bernal et al. 2013). Furthermore, we developed and implemented whole-brain psychophysiological interaction analysis, a method that allows identification and characterization of task-dependent connectivity changes between brain regions with whole-brain coverage, while conventional psychophysiological interaction analysis is restricted to connectivity of one seed region to the rest of the brain (Gerchen et al. 2014). This research led to an extension of the available methods for the analysis of experimentally controlled changes in brain connectivity. Throughout the funding period and ongoing, we have introduced our methodological competences in fMRI connectivity analysis into projects conducted inside and outside of the Bernstein Center, which has already resulted in several publications (Plichta et al. 2013; Bähner et al. 2015; Paret et al. 2016; Becker et al. 2016).
While delays in recruitment of the clinical samples and genetic analyses prevented analysis of the data in the planned time schedule, data collection was completed at the end of the funding period. The data is now available and is being analyzed with the developed methods.

Participating groups:

Key publications:

Becker A, Kirsch M, Gerchen MF, Kiefer F, Kirsch P (2016) Striatal activation and frontostriatal connectivity during non-drug reward anticipation in alcohol dependence Addiction Biology [Epub ahead of print] .
(2015) Hippocampal-Dorsolateral Prefrontal Coupling as a Species-Conserved Cognitive Mechanism: A Human Translational Imaging Study Neuropsychopharmacology, 40(7), 1674-1681 .
Gerchen MF, Bernal-Casas, D, Kirsch P (2014) Analyzing task-dependent brain network changes by whole-brain psychophysiological interactions: a comparison to conventional analysis Human Brain Mapping, 35(10), 5071-5082 .
Bernal-Casas D, Balaguer-Ballester E, Gerchen MF, Iglesias S, Walter H, Heinz A, Meyer-Lindenberg, A, Stephan KE, Kirsch, P (2013) Multi-site reproducibility of prefrontal-hippocampal connectivity estimates by stochastic DCM Neuroimage, 82, 555-563 .
Plichta MM, Wolf I, Hohmann S, Baumeister S, Boecker R, Schwarz AJ, Zangl M, Mier D, Diener C, Meyer P, Holz N, Ruf M, Gerchen MF, Bernal-Casas D, Kolev V, Yordanova J, Flor H, Laucht M, Banaschewski T, Kirsch P, Meyer-Lindenberg A, Brandeis, D (2013) Simultaneous EEG and fMRI reveals a causally connected subcortical-cortical network during reward anticipation. The Journal of Neuroscience, 33, 14526-14533 .