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Mini Review ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Psychiatry | doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2018.00634

Cerebellar contributions to major depression

  • 1Heidelberg University Hospital, Germany

Extending beyond the motor domain, the cerebellum is involved in various aspects of cognition and affect. Multidisciplinary evidence has demonstrated topographic organization of higher-order cognitive functions within the cerebellum. We here review recent neuroimaging research that indicates cerebellar contributions to major depressive disorder (MDD). At the structural level, increased volume of lobule IX has been demonstrated in MDD patients, independent of acute or remitted disease state. Successful treatment with electroconvulsive therapy has been associated with increased lobule VIIA volume in depressed patients. At the functional level, connectivity analyses have shown reduced cerebro-cerebellar coupling of lobules VI and VIIA/B with prefrontal, posterior parietal, and limbic regions in patients with MDD. As a limitation, most of this evidence is based on smaller patient samples with incomplete phenotypic and neuropsychological characterization and with heterogenous medication. Some studies did not apply cerebellum-optimized data analysis protocols. Taken together, MDD pathophysiology affects distinct subregions of the cerebellum that communicate with cortical networks subserving cognitive and self-referential processing. This mini-review synthesizes research evidence from cerebellar structural and functional neuroimaging in depression, and provides future perspectives for neuroimaging of cerebellar contributions to MDD.

Keywords: major depression, Cerebellum, cerebro-cerebellar networks, VBM, intrinsic connectivity

Received: 08 Aug 2018; Accepted: 08 Nov 2018.

Edited by:

Martin Walter, University of Tubingen, Germany

Reviewed by:

Aislinn J. Williams, University of Iowa, United States
Sebastian Walther, Universitätsklinik für Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie, Universität Bern, Switzerland  

Copyright: © 2018 Depping, Schmitgen, Kubera and Wolf. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Prof. Robert C. Wolf, Heidelberg University Hospital, Heidelberg, Germany, christian.wolf@med.uni-heidelberg.de