Amygdala responses to quetiapine XR and citalopram treatment in major depression: The role of 5-HTTLPR-S/Lg polymorphisms

Rajamannar Ramasubbu, Ashley Burgess, Ismael Gaxiola-Valdez, Filomeno Cortese, Darren Clark, Anne Kemp, Bradley Goodyear, Glenda MacQueen, N. Torben Bech-Hansen, Jane Foster, Vaibhav A. Diwadkar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Objectives Genotype and drug pharmacology may contribute to variations in brain response to antidepressants. We examined the impact of two antidepressants with differential actions on serotonin transporter and the 5-HHTLPR-S/Lg polymorphisms on amygdala responses in major depressive disorder (MDD). Methods Caucasians with MDD were given either citalopram or quetiapine extended release for 8 weeks. Patients were genotyped for 5-HTTLPR. Clinical efficacy was assessed using the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale. fMRI responses to negative emotional faces were acquired at baseline, week 1 and week 8. The outcome measure was change in amygdala responses at week 8. Results Citalopram had no effect on amygdala responses in MDD patients with S/Lg alleles at weeks 1 and 8 compared with baseline, whereas it induced changes in amygdala responses in LL homozygotes. By contrast, quetiapine decreased amygdala responses at both time points in S/Lg carriers, and changes in amygdala responses at week 8 correlated with a reduction in depression scores. The small number of LL homozygotes in quetiapine group was a limitation. Efficacy of both treatments was comparable. Conclusions These preliminary data suggest that pharmacological mechanisms and genetics need to be considered in the development of neuroimaging markers for the evaluation of antidepressant treatments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)144-155
Number of pages12
JournalHuman Psychopharmacology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • 5-HTTLPR
  • amygdala
  • antidepressants
  • brain imaging
  • depression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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