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PhD ceremony Ms. E.M. Opmeer: Linking depression. Longitudinal and neuroimaging genetic studies in major depressive disorder

When:Mo 08-04-2013 at 16:15

PhD ceremony: Ms. E.M. Opmeer, 16.15 uur, Academiegebouw, Broerstraat 5, Groningen

Dissertation: Linking depression. Longitudinal and neuroimaging genetic studies in major depressive disorder

Promotor(s): prof. A. Aleman

Faculty: Medical Sciences

Depression is a common disease with a high burden for the patients. For optimal treatment it is important to understand its underlying neurobiological factors. The pathogenesis of depression consists of many factors, including heritable and environmental factors. This thesis had the aim to increase our insight into the neurobiology of depression and relevant genetic influences.

The processing of negative emotional stimuli revealed a pattern of strong activation in limbic areas and less activation in the DLPFC in depressed patients. In addition, an opposite pattern of activation was seen during processing of positive emotional stimuli. Genetic association studies into vulnerability genes for depression have not led to satisfying results up to this moment. However, the studies in this thesis indicate that the association between genes and brain activation is stronger than between genes and depression. Certain genes are associated with brain activation patterns comparable to the abnormalities seen in depression. In addition, the studies in this thesis are among the first to demonstrate an influence of depression on the relation between genes and brain activation.

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