Sex, Hormones and Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA) in Stress Induced Anhedonia in Depression

  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    Mclean Hospital
Updated on 15 August 2022
psychiatric disorder
depressive symptoms
psychotropic drugs
major depressive disorder
Accepts healthy volunteers


Using an innovative multi-modal imaging approach, this study investigates the role of the neurochemical gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), brain activity, as well as hormones in understanding sex differences in Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). Further, the investigators will link these markers to symptoms of depression.


The goals of this research are to investigate: (1) functional and neurochemical features associated with depression irrespective of clinical state; (2) moderating effects of hormones on stress circuitry in MDD; and (3) sex differences in symptoms. To this end, the study is enrolling adults with current depression and remitted depression, along with a control group of psychiatrically health adults. Participants will have an magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) exam involving multiple imaging techniques (functional, structural, spectroscopic) while performing computer-based tests. Additional questionnaires and tests will be done outside the scanner to assess current symptoms and hormone levels. The integration of laboratory-based measures of reward and stress sensitivity, with state-of-the-art imaging techniques and hormonal assessments promises to provide novel insights in the sex-dependent manifestation and pathophysiology of MDD.

Condition Major Depressive Disorder
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT03031665
SponsorMclean Hospital
Last Modified on15 August 2022

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