Cortical Thickness in the Right Anterior Cingulate Cortex Relates to Clinical Response to Left Prefrontal Accelerated Intermittent Theta Burst Stimulation: An Exploratory Study

SOURCE: Neuromodulation. 24(5):938-949, 2021 Jul.

AUTHORS: Baeken C; van Beek V; Vanderhasselt MA; Duprat R; Klooster D

OBJECTIVES: Accelerated intermittent theta burst stimulation (aiTBS) is a promising treatment option for depressed patients. However, there is a large interindividual variability in clinical effectiveness and individual biomarkers to guide treatment outcome are needed.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Here, the relation between cortical thickness and clinical response (17-item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale) was studied using anatomical MRI data of 50 depressed patients who were included in a randomized, sham-controlled, double-blinded, cross-over aiTBS design (NCT01832805).

RESULTS: Baseline cortical thickness in the right caudal part of the anterior cingulate cortex (cACC) was significantly correlated with direct clinical responses in the subgroup who received active aiTBS during the first stimulation week. No correlations were found between baseline cortical thickness and delayed clinical effectiveness. In this particular region, longitudinal changes in cortical thickness were significantly correlated with clinical effectiveness. Furthermore, direct changes in cortical thickness in the right cACC showed predictive potential of delayed clinical responses.

CONCLUSION: Cortical thickness within the right cACC might be an important biomarker to predict clinical responses to aiTBS. Additional studies are warranted to substantiate the specific biomarker potential of these parts of the ACC.