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Clinical Trial Summary

This study aims to investigate changes in functional connectivity over a four week treatment course with intermittent theta burst stimulation (iTBS) in patients with major depressive disorder (MDD). To this end, seven weekly resting-state fMRI (rs-fMRI) scans at 7 tesla (7T) will precede, accompany and follow the iTBS treatment course. By obtaining several samples of the modulatory effects of iTBS on functional connectivity networks and simultaneous measurements of the depressive symptoms it will be possible to assess the time course of changes in connectivity across different networks, and to assess the overall relationship between the network modulation and the antidepressant effects of the treatment over time.

Clinical Trial Description

The immense disease burden of major depressive disorder (MDD) and unsatisfactory response rates to pharmacological and psychological interventions highlight the need for further development of treatment alternatives. The development of these alternatives relies on an understanding of the pathophysiology of depression, which has, despite considerable efforts, remained largely elusive. Findings have converged on the proposition that depression cannot be attributed to a singular factor and is better understood as a dysfunctional interaction of multiple parameters. At the neural level, depression is described as a dysfunction of several cortical and sub-cortical networks associated with affective salience, cognitive control and self-reverential thoughts. Encouragingly, several studies have shown that pathological alterations in one of these networks, the Default Mode network, may normalize following several weeks of treatment using repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), an accepted treatment for major depression.

The present study aims to elucidate the time course of this modulatory effect on the different networks showing pathological connectivity profiles. Specifically, our aim is to obtain several measurements of functional connectivity and concomitant measures of the symptoms of depression prior to, throughout, and following the 4 week treatment course of iTBS, a faster but equally effective non-invasive brain stimulation technique compared to rTMS. Due to the fact that weekly changes in network connectivity are expected to be relatively small, the stronger BOLD Signal at 7T and the fact that peak temporal correlation coefficients calculated between network nodes have been shown to be significantly higher at 7T than 3T (e.g.) in the Default Mode network should greatly aid in detecting these differences. At each of the 7 measurement time points, fluctuations of BOLD signal will be recorded during a rs-fMRI scan lasting about 15 minutes. Our approach will allow to characterize the temporal profiles of the antidepressant effects of iTBS, thereby furthering our understanding of the mechanism by which iTBS contributes to the normalization of pathological neural connectivity and the reduction of depression symptoms. This proposed longitudinal functional imaging of therapeutic changes is highly relevant to the field of clinical neuroscience and should further advance our understanding of the pathophysiology of depression. ;

Study Design

Related Conditions & MeSH terms

NCT number NCT03944213
Study type Observational
Source University Hospital, Bonn
Contact Clemens Mielacher, Mag.
Phone +49 228 287 11519
Status Recruiting
Start date July 23, 2018
Completion date June 1, 2020

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