Overgeneral autobiographical memory (AM) manifests in individuals with major depressive disorder (MDD) tested during depressed (dMDD) or remitted phases (rMDD), and healthy individuals at high-risk (HR) for developing MDD. The current study aimed to elucidate differences in hemodynamic correlates of AM recall between rMDDs, HRs, and controls (HCs) to identify neural changes following previous depressive episodes without the confound of current depressed mood. HCs, HRs, and unmedicated rMDDs (n
= 20/group) underwent fMRI while recalling AMs in response to emotionally valenced cue words. HRs and rMDDs recalled fewer specific and more categorical AMs relative to HCs. During specific AM recall, HRs had increased activity relative to rMDDs and HCs in left ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (VLPFC) and lateral orbitofrontal cortex. During positive specific AM recall, HRs and HCs had increased activity relative to rMDDs in bilateral dorsomedial prefrontal cortex (DMPFC) and left precuneus. During negative specific AM recall HRs and HCs had increased activity in left VLPFC and right DMPFC, while rMDDs had increased activity relative to HRs and HCs in right DLPFC and precuneus. Differential recruitment of medial prefrontal regions implicated in emotional control suggests experiencing a depressive episode may consequently reduce one’s ability to regulate emotional responses during AM recall.
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