Quantitative EEG amplitude across REM sleep periods in depression: Preliminary report

Marcus P. Liscombe, Robert F. Hoffmann, Madhukar H. Trivedi, Marc K. Parker, A. John Rush, Roseanne Armitage

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine if there are significant differences in the temporal organization of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep microarchitecture between healthy controls and outpatients with major depressive disorder (MDD). Methods: Forty age-matched subjects, 20 men and 20 women, half with MDD, were selected from an archive of sleep electroencephalography (EEG) data collected under identical conditions. Each participant spent 2 consecutive nights in the Sleep Study Unit of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, the first of which served as adaptation. The average amplitude in each of 5 conventional EEG frequency bands was computed for each REM period across the second night. Data were then coded for group and sex. Results: Aside from REM latency, none of the key sleep macroarchitectural variables differentiated MDD patients from controls. REM latency was longest in men with MDD. Sleep microarchitecture, however, did show a number of between-group differences. In general, slower frequencies declined across REM periods, with a significant REM period effect for delta, theta and alpha amplitude. Group x sex interactions were also obtained for theta and alpha. Beta activity showed a unique temporal profile in each group, supported by a significant REM period x group x sex interaction. In addition, the temporal change in theta amplitude across REM periods was most striking in women with MDD. Conclusions: This study suggests that, like during non-REM sleep, EEG amplitude shows a systematic temporal change over successive REM sleep periods and also shows elements that are both disease- and sex-dependent.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)40-46
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2002


  • Alpha rhythm
  • Beta rhythm
  • Delta rhythm
  • Depressive disorder
  • Electroencephalography
  • Sex factors
  • Sleep stages
  • Sleep, REM
  • Theta rhythm

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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