The International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology

Brief Report

Brain SPECT study of common ground between hypothyroidism and depression

Yodphat Krausz a1, Nanette Freedman a1, Hava Lester a1, Gavriel Barkai a2, Tomer Levin a3, Moshe Bocher a1, Roland Chisin a1, Bernard Lerer a4 and Omer Bonne a4c1
a1 Department of Medical Biophysics and Nuclear Medicine, Hadassah – Hebrew University Medical Center, Jerusalem, Israel
a2 Department of Psychiatry, Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, Tel Aviv, Israel
a3 Department of Oncology, Long Island Jewish Medical Centre, New Hyde Park, NY, USA
a4 Department of Psychiatry, Hadassah – Hebrew University Medical Center, Jerusalem, Israel

Article author query
krausz y   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
freedman n   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
lester h   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
barkai g   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
levin t   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
bocher m   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
chisin r   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
lerer b   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
bonne o   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 


Hypothyroidism and major depressive disorder (MDD) share neuropsychiatric features. Cerebral perfusion deficits are found in both disorders. We compared regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) in hypothyroidism and MDD to determine if clinical similarities are mediated by common neurocircuitry. Ten hypothyroid and 10 depressed patients underwent 99mTc-HMPAO-SPECT and clinical evaluation before and after response to respective treatments. Ten healthy controls underwent a similar, single, evaluation. Before treatment, rCBF in hypothyroid and depressed patients was lower than in controls, in posterior and anterior aspects of the brain respectively. rCBF in hypothyroidism was lower than in MDD in right posterior cingulate and parieto/occipital regions, and higher in frontal, prefrontal and sub-genual regions. Reduced rCBF in pre- and post-central gyri was found in both groups. Following treatment, rCBF in depressed patients increased and normalized, but remained unchanged in hypothyroidism. Affective symptoms in hypothyroidism may be mediated by neurocircuitry different from that of major depression.

(Received July 4 2004)
(Reviewed August 11 2005)
(Revised December 6 2005)
(Accepted December 11 2005)
(Published Online May 4 2006)

Key Words: Depression; hypothyroidism; 99mTc-HMPAO-SPECT; rCBF.

c1 Department of Psychiatry, Hadassah – Hebrew University Medical Center, PO Box 12000, Jerusalem 91120, Israel. Tel.: 972-2-6776348 Fax: 972-2 677-7938 E-mail: