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Vulnerability for new episodes in recurrent major depressive disorder: protocol for the longitudinal DELTA-neuroimaging cohort study

01 Mar 2016

Introduction

Major depressive disorder (MDD) is widely prevalent and severely disabling, mainly due to its recurrent nature. A better understanding of the mechanisms underlying MDD-recurrence may help to identify high-risk patients and to improve the preventive treatment they need. MDD-recurrence has been considered from various levels of perspective including symptomatology, affective neuropsychology, brain circuitry and endocrinology/metabolism. However, MDD-recurrence understanding is limited, because these perspectives have been studied mainly in isolation, cross-sectionally in depressed patients. Therefore, we aim at improving MDD-recurrence understanding by studying these four selected perspectives in combination and prospectively during remission.

Methods and analysis

In a cohort design, we will include 60 remitted, unipolar, unmedicated, recurrent MDD-participants (35–65 years) with ≥2 MDD-episodes. At baseline, we will compare the MDD-participants with 40 matched controls. Subsequently, we will follow-up the MDD-participants for 2.5 years while monitoring recurrences. We will invite participants with a recurrence to repeat baseline measurements, together with matched remitted MDD-participants. Measurements include questionnaires, sad mood-induction, lifestyle/diet, 3 T structural (T1-weighted and diffusion tensor imaging) and blood-oxygen-level-dependent functional MRI (fMRI) and MR-spectroscopy. fMRI focusses on resting state, reward/aversive-related learning and emotion regulation. With affective neuropsychological tasks we will test emotional processing. Moreover, we will assess endocrinology (salivary hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal-axis cortisol and dehydroepiandrosterone-sulfate) and metabolism (metabolomics including polyunsaturated fatty acids), and store blood for, for example, inflammation analyses, genomics and proteomics. Finally, we will perform repeated momentary daily assessments using experience sampling methods at baseline. We will integrate measures to test: (1) differences between MDD-participants and controls; (2) associations of baseline measures with retro/prospective recurrence-rates; and (3) repeated measures changes during follow-up recurrence. This data set will allow us to study different predictors of recurrence in combination.

Ethics and dissemination

The local ethics committee approved this study (AMC-METC-Nr.:11/050). We will submit results for publication in peer-reviewed journals and presentation at (inter)national scientific meetings.

Trial registration number

NTR3768.

Click here to view the full article which appeared in BMJ Open