Introduction: Alterations in emotional processing occur during a major depressive episode (MDE), and olfaction and facial expressions have implications in emotional and social interactions. To gain a better understanding of these processes, we characterized the perceptive sensorial biases, potential links, and potential remission after antidepressant treatment of MDE. Methods: We recruited 22 patients with acute MDE, both before and after three months of antidepressant treatment, and 41 healthy volunteers matched by age and smoking status. The participants underwent a clinical assessment (Mini International Neuropsychiatry Interview, Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale, State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, Physical and Social Anhedonia scales, Pleasure-Displeasure Scale), an olfactory evaluation (hedonic aspect, familiarity and emotional impact of odors), and a computerized Facial Affect Recognition task. Results: MDE was associated with an olfactory bias concerning hedonic and emotional aspects, including negative olfactory alliesthesia (unpleasant odorants perceived as more unpleasant), facial emotion expression recognition (happy facial expressions), and in part olfactory anhedonia (pleasant odorants perceived as less pleasant). In addition, the results revealed that these impairments represent state markers of MDE, suggesting that the patients recovered the same sensory processing as healthy subjects after antidepressant treatment. Discussion: This study demonstrated that MDE is associated with negative biases toward olfactory perception and the recognition of facial emotional expressions. The link between these two sensory parameters suggests common underlying processes. © 2014 Naudin et al.
Naudin, M., Carl, T., Surguladze, S., Guillen, C., Gaillard, P., Belzung, C., … Atanasova, B. (2014). Perceptive biases in major depressive episode. PLoS ONE, 9(2). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0086832