Zafer Iscan, PhD Presents Findings of MRI and PET Studies at Professional Meetings

Zafer Iscan, PhD

Postdoctoral Research Associate, Zafer Iscan, PhD presented two posters and an oral presentation at the 69th Annual Meeting of the Society of Biological Psychiatry on May 8-9, 2014 in New York, NY and he made an oral presentation at the 4th Annual Symposium of the Translational and Molecular Imaging Institute at the New York Academy of Medicine on May 29, 2014.

Dr. Iscan’s poster at the Society of Biological Psychiatry presented information on the test-retest reliability of automated cortical thickness and volume measures acquired from multiple sites in the NIMH funded EMBARC project. Findings showed that the reliability of these measures was high. However, the results showed significant differences across sites, between visually approved/disapproved subjects, and across regions with different volumes, suggesting that these measures should be used with caution.

Dr. Iscan presented another poster, coauthored by Rakesh Gopalkumar, MD, CUBIT intern, about the correlation between serotonin 1A receptor (5-HT1A) and serotonin transporter (5-HTT). Results showed that 5-HT1A and 5-HTT binding are positively correlated in the anterior cingulate. The significant correlation between 5-HTT alteration and compensatory changes in 5-HT1A receptor levels at the anterior cingulate lends support to the neurobiological model proposing the region to be a treatable target in major depressive disorder as compared to the hippocampus or amygdala.

Dr. Iscan’s oral presentations addressed the relationship between brain serotonin transporter binding and symptoms of anxiety among people with major depressive disorder. Previous studies have demonstrated a link between 5-HT1A binding and anxiety (psychic, somatic) in people with depression. Dr. Iscan’s presentation found a similar link between levels of 5-HTT binding and anxiety in the brains of people with major depressive disorder. He reported that in the thalamus, amygdala and midbrain, somatic anxiety was negatively related to 5-HTT binding, while in the midbrain, psychic anxiety was positively related to 5-HTT binding, confirming the importance of these brain regions in the biological processes associated with anxiety.