Association of antidepressants with brain morphology in early stages of psychosis: an imaging genomics approach

Oleg Bykowsky, Fabienne Harrisberger, André Schmidt, Renata Smieskova, Daniel J. Hauke, Laura Egloff, Anita Riecher-Rössler, Paolo Fusar-Poli, Christian G. Huber, Undine E. Lang, Christina Andreou, Stefan Borgwardt*

*Corresponding author for this work
5 Citations (Scopus)


Depressive symptoms in subjects at Clinical High Risk for Psychosis (CHR-P) or at first-episode psychosis (FEP) are often treated with antidepressants. Our cross-sectional study investigated whether brain morphology is altered by antidepressant medication. High-resolution T1-weighted structural MRI scans of 33 CHR-P and FEP subjects treated with antidepressants, 102 CHR-P and FEP individuals without antidepressant treatment and 55 controls, were automatically segmented using Freesurfer 6.0. Linear mixed-effects modelling was applied to assess the differences in subcortical volume, surface area and cortical thickness in treated, non-treated and healthy subjects, taking into account converted dosages of antidepressants. Increasing antidepressant dose was associated with larger volume of the pallidum and the putamen, and larger surface of the left inferior temporal gyrus. In a pilot subsample of separately studied subjects of known genomic risk loci, we found that in the right postcentral gyrus, the left paracentral lobule and the precentral gyrus antidepressant dose-associated surface increase depended on polygenic schizophrenia-related-risk score. As the reported regions are linked to the symptoms of psychosis, our findings reflect the possible beneficial effects of antidepressant treatment on an emerging psychosis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8516
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 01.12.2019


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