A multimetric systematic review of fMRI findings in patients with MDD receiving ECT

Daniel Porta-Casteràs, Marta Cano*, Joan A. Camprodon, Colleen Loo, Diego Palao, Carles Soriano-Mas, Narcís Cardoner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is considered the most effective treatment for major depressive disorder (MDD). In recent years, the pursuit of the neurobiological mechanisms of ECT action has generated a significant amount of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) research. Objective: In this systematic review, we integrated all fMRI research in patients with MDD receiving ECT and, importantly, evaluated the level of convergence and replicability across multiple fMRI metrics. Results: While according to most studies changes in patients with MDD after ECT appear to be widely distributed across the brain, our multimetric review revealed specific changes involving functional connectivity increases in the superior and middle frontal gyri as the most replicated and across-modality convergent findings. Although this modulation of prefrontal connectivity was associated to ECT outcome, we also identified fMRI measurements of the subgenual anterior cingulate cortex as the fMRI signals most significantly linked to clinical response. Conclusion: We identified specific prefrontal and cingulate territories which activity and connectivity with other brain regions is modulated by ECT, critically accounting for its mechanism of action.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number110178
JournalProgress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry
Publication statusAccepted in press - 2020


  • Electroconvulsive therapy
  • Frontal modulation
  • Functional magnetic resonance imaging
  • Major depressive disorder
  • Subgenual anterior cingulate cortex
  • Treatment response biomarkers


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