A pilot study on predictors of brainstem raphe abnormality in patients with major depressive disorder

Milutin Kostić*, Ana Munjiza, Danilo Pesic, Amir Peljto, Ivana Novakovic, Valerija Dobricic, Dusica Lecic Tosevski, Milija Mijajlovic

*Corresponding author for this work
8 Citations (Scopus)


Background Hypo/anechogenicity of the brainstem raphe (BR) structures has been suggested as a possible transcranial parenchymal sonography (TCS) marker associated with depression. Aim The aim of this study was to analyze possible association of the abnormal BR echogenicity in patients with major depression when compared to healthy controls, and to evaluate its clinical and genetic correlates. Methods TCS was performed in 53 patients diagnosed as major depressive disorder (MDD) without psychotic symptoms and in 54 healthy matched controls. Results: The TCS detected BR abnormalities were significantly more frequent in MDD patients (35 out of 53; 66%) in comparison to matched controls (5 out of 56; 9%). The prevalence of short allele (s) homozygocity in the length polymorphism of the promoter region of the serotonin transporter gene (5-HTTLPR) was significantly higher in MDD patients relative to those with normal BR echogenicity. A stepwise statistical discriminant analysis revealed statistically significant separation between MDD patients with and without BR abnormalities groups based on the four predictors combined: the Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale item 5 („difficulty in concentration, poor memory“), presence of social phobia, s allele homozygocity of the 5-HTTLPR polymorphism, and presence of generalized anxiety disorder. Limitations Cross-sectional design and heterogenous treatment of depressed patients. Conclusions Reduced BR echogenicity in at least a subgroup of MDD patients may reflect a particular phenotype, characterized by more prevalent comorbid anxiety disorders, associated with particular genetic polymorphisms and neurotransmitter(s) deficits, most probably altered serotonergic mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Pages (from-to)66-70
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - 01.02.2017


Dive into the research topics of 'A pilot study on predictors of brainstem raphe abnormality in patients with major depressive disorder'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this