The relationship between the acute cerebral metabolic response to citalopram and chronic citalopram treatment outcome

Gwenn S. Smith, Clifford I. Workman, Elisse Kramer, Carol R. Hermann, Rachel Ginsberg, Yilong Ma, Vijay Dhawan, Thomas Chaly, David Eidelberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objectives: Given the challenges in the clinical management of geriatric depression, research over the past decade has focused on developing early neurobiological markers of antidepressant treatment response. This study tested the hypothesis that lower baseline glucose metabolism and greater acute cerebral metabolic responses to a single, intravenous (IV) dose of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) citalopram would be associated with greater improvement of depressive symptoms after 12 weeks of citalopram treatment in geriatric depression. Methods: Sixteen geriatric depressed patients underwent two scans to measure cerebral glucose metabolism after administration of either a saline placebo or citalopram infusion (40 mg, IV). Then, the patients were treated with the oral citalopram medication for 12 weeks. Results: Greater improvement of depressive symptoms was associated with lower baseline metabolism in anterior cingulate, superior, middle, and inferior frontal gyri (bilaterally), inferior parietal lobule (bilaterally), precuneus (right), insula (left), parahippocampal gyrus (right), caudate (bilaterally), and putamen (left) regions. Greater improvement of depressive symptoms was associated with greater reductions in metabolism after acute citalopram administration in similar brain regions, including additional posterior cortical regions. Conclusions: Lower baseline cerebral metabolism and greater decreases with acute citalopram administration are associated with better antidepressant response to chronic citalopram treatment. These data are consistent with previous studies of total sleep deprivation and suggest that dynamic, early adaptive changes or normalization of cerebral metabolism may represent early neurobiological markers of chronic SSRI treatment response in geriatric depression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53-63
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2011



  • Depression
  • PET
  • antidepressant
  • biomarker
  • citalopram
  • geriatric
  • glucose metabolism
  • treatment response

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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