Neuroimaging and clinical characterization in the course of disorders

Affective disorders are severe and predominantly chronic diseases characterized by impairments in social and neuropsychological development. Neuroimaging techniques may provide insights into the underlying neural mechanisms associated with a benign or detrimental course of disease. While many studies have investigated the neurobiological mechanisms in cross-sectional designs, there is a lack of well-designed longitudinal neuroimaging studies in affective disorders. Furthermore, it is crucial and mostly neglected by available research to consider the course of illness and other confounding influences between MRI measurements.

The objective of this research group is to identify longitudinal changes in brain structure (gray matter, white matter, and structural connectivity) and brain function (automatic and controlled stages of emotion processing, reward processing) in the course of affective dirsorders. Therefore, we conduct a detailed assessment of the clinical course, risk and protective factors for affective disorders in order to account for differential influences on brain structure and function.


Studentische Mitarbeiter:

  • Christopher Hirtsiefer
  • Anna Kappelhoff
  • Stefanie Probst
  • Leonie Brede
  • Annika Brockhaus

Current funding

IMF „Characterizing brain structure and function in the course of affective disorders“ (2019, KO121806)

Current selected publications

Repple J, Zaremba D, Meinert S, Grotegerd D, Redlich R, Förster K, Dohm K, Opel N, Hahn T, Enneking V, Leehr E, Böhnlein J, Dzvonyar F, Sindermann L, Winter N, Goltermann J, Kugel H, Bauer J, Heindel W, Arolt V, Dannlowski U. (2019). Time heals all wounds? A 2-year longitudinal diffusion tensor imaging study in major depressive disorder. Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience 44(6):407-413.

Opel N, Redlich R, Dohm K, Zaremba D, Goltermann J, Repple J, Kaehler C, Grotegerd D, Leehr EJ, Böhnlein J, Förster K, Meinert S, Enneking V, Sindermann L, Dzvonyar F, Emden D, Leenings R, Winter N, Hahn T, Kugel H, Heindel W, Buhlmann U, Baune BT, Arolt V, Dannlowski U (2019). Mediation of the influence of childhood maltreatment on depression relapse by cortical structure: a 2-year longitudinal observational study. Lancet Psychiatry 6:318-326.

Zaremba D, Dohm K, Redlich R, Grotegerd D, Strojny R, Meinert S, Bürger C, Enneking V, Förster K, Repple J, Opel N, Baune BT, Zwitserlood P, Heindel W, Arolt V, Kugel H, Dannlowski U (2018). Association of Brain Cortical Changes with Relapse in Patients with Major Depressive Disorder. JAMA Psychiatry 75:484-492.

Zaremba D, Enneking V, Meinert S, Förster K, Bürger C, Dohm K, Grotegerd D, Redlich R, Dietsche B, Krug A, Kircher T, Kugel H, Heindel W, Baune BT, Arolt V, Dannlowski U (2018). Effects of cumulative illness severity on hippocampal gray matter volume in major depression: a voxel-based morphometry study. Psychological Medicine 48(14):2391-2398.

Dohm K, Redlich R, Zwitserlood P, Dannlowski U (2017). Trajectories of major depression disorders: A systematic review of longitudinal neuroimaging findings. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry 51:441–54.

Opel N, Redlich R, Kaehler C, Grotegerd D, Dohm K, Heindel W, Kugel H, Thalamuthu A, Koutsouleris N, Arolt V, Teuber A, Wersching H, Baune BT, Berger K, Dannlowski U (2017). Prefrontal gray matter volume mediates genetic risks for obesity. Molecular Psychiatry 22:703-710.

Opel N, Zwanzger P, Redlich R, Grotegerd D, Dohm K, Arolt V, et al. (2016). Differing brain structural correlates of familial and environmental risk for major depressive disorder revealed by a combined VBM/pattern recognition approach. Psychological Medicine 46:277–90.


Dr. rer. nat. Katharina Koch (geb. Dohm)
Group Leader
E-Mail: katharina.koch(at)­uni-muenster(dot)­de


Administration assistance:
Bettina Walden, M.A.

Tel.: +49 (0)251 / 83-56610
E-Mail: bettina.walden@­