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Escitalopram attenuates posterior cingulate activity during self-evaluation in healthy volunteers.

Author(s): Matthews SC, Simmons AN, Strigo IA, Arce E, Stein MB, Paulus MP

Affiliation(s): Research Service, Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System, San Diego, CA 92161, USA. scmatthews@ucsd.edu

Publication date & source: 2010-05-30, Psychiatry Res., 182(2):81-7. Epub 2010 Apr 24.

Publication type: Randomized Controlled Trial; Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

Medial cortex is critically involved in self-referential processing. Little is known about how selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) affect medial cortical activity during self-assessment. We hypothesized that a 3-week oral course of escitalopram,10 mg/day, would alter activity related to self-referential processing in medial cortex. Fifteen healthy females performed a self-assessment task during functional magnetic resonance imaging on two occasions--once after 3 weeks of placebo and once at the end of 3 weeks of escitalopram. Task conditions involved responding "yes" or "no" to whether various positive and negative adjectives described the subject (i.e., "self" evaluation trials) or the subject's best friend (i.e., "other" evaluation trials), whereas the comparison condition involved responding whether the valence of various adjectives was positive or negative (i.e., "word" evaluation trials). Behaviorally after escitalopram, subjects less frequently endorsed that negative adjectives described themselves. Three main neuroimaging results were observed: (1) increased activation in medial prefrontal cortex and posterior cingulate related to self minus word evaluation trials, (2) increased activation in posterior cingulate related to escitalopram minus placebo for self and word evaluation trials, and (3) drug by task interactions in the insula, cerebellum and prefrontal cortex. These results show that SSRIs change medial cortical activity and may alter self-evaluation. Published by Elsevier Ireland Ltd.

Page last updated: 2010-10-05

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