Neural correlates of successful response inhibition in unmedicated patients with late-life depression

David S. Bobb, Bryon Adinoff, Steven J. Laken, Shawn M. McClintock, Katya Rubia, Hung Wei Huang, Mustafa M. Husain, Kimberly S. Mapes, Carol Tamminga, C. Munro Cullum, Kaundinya Gopinath, Madhukar H. Trivedi, F. Andrew Kozel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Objective: Accumulating evidence implicates a strong association between abnormal frontostriatal-limbic brain circuits, executive dysfunction, and late-life depression (LLD). The stop signal task (SST) was designed by Rubia et al. for use with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to identify the neural correlates of motor response inhibition, a well-characterized executive function. In this study, we compared brain activation between a group of unmedicated participants with LLD and an unmedicated healthy cohort during SST performance. Methods: Participants 55-85 years of age were screened, clinically evaluated, and entered into either the LLD (n = 15) or healthy comparison group (n = 13). Both groups underwent neuroimaging while performing the SST under similar conditions. The brain circuitry of successful motor inhibition was evaluated by contrasting the condition of correctly inhibiting responses with the condition of correctly responding to Go signals. Differential areas of brain activation between the LLD and comparison groups were determined with FMRIB Software Library. Results: Despite comparable SST performance measures, LLD participants demonstrated greater blood oxygen level dependent activation relative to the comparison group in predominantly left-lateralized frontostriatal-limbic circuitry that included the bilateral superior frontal cortices and left-hemispheric orbitofrontal gyri, insular cortex, cingulate cortex, caudate, and putamen. Conversely, the healthy comparison group did not exhibit any areas of greater activation than the LLD group. Conclusion: Unmedicated participants with LLD activate additional areas within frontostriatal-limbic brain circuitry when performing the SST at a level comparable to a healthy cohort.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1057-1069
Number of pages13
JournalAmerican Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2012


  • Functional MRI
  • late-life depression
  • major depressive disorder
  • response inhibition
  • stop signal task

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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