BRAIN IMAGINGReduced signal of locus ceruleus in depression in quantitative neuromelanin magnetic resonance imagingShibata, Eria b; Sasaki, Makotoa; Tohyama, Koujiroc; Otsuka, Kotarob; Sakai, Akiob Author Information Departments of aRadiology, and bNeuropsychiatry cCenter for EM and Bio-Imaging Research, Iwate Medical University, Morioka, Japan Correspondence to Dr Eri Shibata, MD, Department of Radiology, Iwate Medical University, 19-1 Uchimaru, Morioka 020-8505, Japan Tel: +81 19 651 5111; fax: +81 19 622 1091; e-mail: [email protected] Received 9 November 2006; accepted 13 December 2006 NeuroReport: March 26, 2007 - Volume 18 - Issue 5 - p 415-418 doi: 10.1097/WNR.0b013e328058674a Buy Metrics Abstract We used a neuromelanin-magnetic resonance imaging technique to investigate abnormalities in the locus ceruleus in depression. We examined 20 patients with major depression and 43 age-matched controls using a 3 T scanner with a neuromelanin-sensitive sequence. The signal intensities of the areas corresponding to the rostral, middle, and caudal portions of the locus ceruleus were measured, and the contrast ratio relative to the adjacent pontine tegmentum was calculated. In controls, the contrast ratio in the middle portion was higher than in the rostral and caudal areas. In patients, contrast ratios in the rostral and middle portions were significantly decreased in comparison with controls, suggesting dysfunction of the ascending noradrenergic system. Neuromelanin-magnetic resonance imaging can be used to visualize abnormalities in the locus ceruleus of depressive patients. © 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.