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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 915026, 7 pages
Clinical Study

Hypothalamus-Anchored Resting Brain Network Changes before and after Sertraline Treatment in Major Depression

1The Affiliated Xi’an Central Hospital of Medical College of Xi’an Jiaotong University, Xi’an 710003, China
2Key Laboratory of Environment and Gene Related Diseases, Ministry of Education, Xi’an Jiaotong University, Xi’an 710061, China
3Xi’an Central Hospital, Xi’an 710003, China
4Key Laboratory of Health Ministry for Forensic Science, Xi’an Jiaotong University, Xi’an 710061, China

Received 26 January 2014; Revised 12 February 2014; Accepted 13 February 2014; Published 20 March 2014

Academic Editor: Lijun Bai

Copyright © 2014 Rui Yang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Sertraline, one of the oldest antidepressants, remains to be the most efficacious treatment for depression. However, major depression disorder (MDD) is characterized by altered emotion processing and deficits in cognitive control. In cognitive interference tasks, patients with MDD have shown excessive hypothalamus activity. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of antidepressant treatment (sertraline) on hypothalamus-anchored resting brain circuitry. Functional magnetic resonance imaging was conducted on depressed patients both before and after antidepressant treatment. After eight weeks of antidepressant treatment, patients with depression showed significantly increased connectivity between the hypothalamus and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, orbitofrontal cortex, anterior cingulate cortex, insula, putamen, caudate, and claustrum. By contrast, decreased connectivity of the hypothalamus-related areas was primarily located in the inferior frontal gyrus, medial frontal gyrus, cingulated gyrus, precuneus, thalamus, and cerebellum. After eight weeks of antidepressant therapy, 8 out of the 12 depressed subjects achieved 70% reduction or better in depressive symptoms, as measured on the Hamilton depression rating scale. Our findings may infer that antidepressant treatment can alter the functional connectivity of the hypothalamus resting brain to achieve its therapeutic effect.