Bannbers E, Gingnell M, Engman J, Morell A, Comasco E, Kask K, Garavan H, Wikström J, Sundström Poromaa I
J Affect Disord 142 (1-3) 347-350 [2012-12-15; online 2012-07-27]
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) has generally not been associated with impulsive behavior. However, some studies suggest that women with PMDD have higher impulsivity scores than healthy controls and that brain activity during response inhibition may vary across the menstrual cycle. Therefore, our aim was to unravel potentially important cognitive aspects of PMDD by investigating brain activity during response inhibition in women with PMDD and healthy controls in relation to menstrual cycle phase. Fourteen PMDD patients and 13 healthy controls performed a Go/NoGo task to measure brain activity during response inhibition by use of event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging. Women with PMDD displayed decreased activity during both menstrual cycle phases compared to healthy controls in several task-related parietal areas. A significant group by phase interactions was found in the left insula, driven by enhanced activity among healthy controls in the follicular phase and by enhanced insula activity during the luteal phase among PMDD patients. The limitations of the present study are the relatively limited sample size, the relatively small number of NoGo trials and the lack of a baseline contrast for the NoGo trials. During response inhibition women with PMDD have reduced activity in areas associated with attention and motor function which is unrelated to menstrual cycle phase. Insular cortex activity, involved in both affective and cognitive processing, was significantly activated during the luteal phase among PMDD women. These findings are relevant for the understanding of how ovarian steroids influence mood symptoms in women.