Dorsal bed nucleus of stria terminalis in depressed and nondepressed temporal lobe epilepsy patients

Roni Dhaher, Richard A. Bronen, Linda Spencer, Lejla Colic, Franklin Brown, Ali Mian, Mani Sandhu, Brian Pittman, Dennis Spencer, Hilary P. Blumberg, Hamada Altalib

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) and depression are common comorbid disorders whose underlying shared neural network has yet to be determined. Although animal studies demonstrate a role for the dorsal bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (dBNST) in both seizures and depression, and human clinical studies demonstrate a therapeutic effect of stimulating this region on treatment-resistant depression, the role of the dBNST in depressed and nondepressed TLE patients is still unclear. Here, we tested the hypothesis that this structure is morphologically abnormal in these epilepsy patients, with an increased abnormality in TLE patients with comorbid depression. Methods: In this case-controlled study, 3-T structural magnetic resonance imaging scans were obtained from TLE patients with no depression (TLEonly), TLE patients with depression (TLEdep), and healthy control (HC) subjects. TLE subjects were recruited from the Yale University Comprehensive Epilepsy Center, diagnosed with the International League Against Epilepsy 2014 Diagnostic Guidelines, and confirmed by video-electroencephalography. Diagnosis of major depressive disorder was confirmed by a trained neuropsychologist through a Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition. The dBNST was delineated manually by reliable raters using Bioimage Suite software. Results: The number of patients and subjects included 35 TLEonly patients, 20 TLEdep patients, and 102 HC subjects. Both TLEonly and TLEdep patients had higher dBNST volumes compared to HC subjects, unilaterally in the left hemisphere in the TLEonly patients (p =.003) and bilaterally in the TLEdep patients (p <.0001). Furthermore, the TLEdep patients had a higher dBNST volume than the TLEonly patients in the right hemisphere (p =.02). Significance: Here, we demonstrate an abnormality of the dBNST in TLE patients, both without depression (left enlargement) and with depression (bilateral enlargement). Our results demonstrate this region to underlie TLE both with and without depression, implicating it as a target in treating the comorbidity between these two disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2561-2570
Number of pages10
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2022


  • magnetic resonance imaging
  • major depressive disorder
  • neuromodulation
  • volumetric analysis


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