Reduced limbic connections may contraindicate subgenual cingulate deep brain stimulation for intractable depression.
McNab JA., Voets NL., Jenkinson N., Squier W., Miller KL., Goodwin GM., Aziz TZ.
In this study, the authors performed deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the subgenual anterior cingulate cortex (SACC) in a patient with a history of bipolar disorder. After a right thalamic stroke, intractable depression without mood elevation or a mixed state developed in this patient. He underwent bilateral SACC DBS and died 16 months afterwards. Anatomical connections were studied in this patient preoperatively and postmortem using diffusion tractography (DT). A comparison of in vivo and high resolution ex vivo connectivity patterns was performed as a measure of the utility of in vivo DT in presurgical planning for DBS. Diagnostic measures included neuropsychological testing, preoperative and ex vivo DT, and macroscopic neuropathological assessment. Post-DBS depression rating scores did not improve. In vivo and ex vivo DT revealed markedly reduced limbic projections from the thalamus and SACC to the amygdala in the right (stroke-affected) hemisphere. A highly selective right mediothalamic lesion was associated with the onset of refractory depression. Reduced amygdalar-thalamic and amygdalar-SACC connections could be a contraindication to DBS for depression. Correspondence between preoperative and higher resolution ex vivo DT supports the validity of DT as a presurgical planning tool for DBS.