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Effect of antidepressive therapy on retinal contrast processing in depressive disorder

  • Emanuel Bubl (a1), Dieter Ebert (a1), Elena Kern (a1), Ludger Tebartz van Elst (a1) and Michael Bach (a2)...

Recently, we reported a reduced retinal contrast gain in unmedicated and medicated patients with major depression.


To analyse whether the contrast gain normalises after successful antidepressive therapy by recording the pattern electroretinogram (PERG) in healthy controls and patients with depression before and after antidepressive therapy.


Fourteen patients diagnosed with major depression were repeatedly scanned and the results compared with that from 40 matched controls.


The retinal contrast gain was lower at baseline in patients with depression, was normalised with remission and correlated with the severity of depression. Patients who did not achieve remission retained significantly lower contrast gain at follow-up.


The study provides evidence for a state-dependent modulation of retinal contrast gain in patients with major depression. Reduced contrast gain normalised after therapy. A PERG-based contrast gain could serve as a state marker of depression.

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Corresponding author
Ludger Tebartz van Elst, Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität, Hauptstr. 5, 79104 Freiburg, Germany. Email:
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These authors contributed equally to the work.

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Effect of antidepressive therapy on retinal contrast processing in depressive disorder

  • Emanuel Bubl (a1), Dieter Ebert (a1), Elena Kern (a1), Ludger Tebartz van Elst (a1) and Michael Bach (a2)...
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