White matter abnormalities in bipolar disorder: a voxel-based diffusion tensor imaging study

Bruno, Stefania, Cercignani, Mara and Ron, Maria A (2008) White matter abnormalities in bipolar disorder: a voxel-based diffusion tensor imaging study. Bipolar Disorders, 10 (4). pp. 460-468. ISSN 1399-5618

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Abstract

OBJECTIVES

In bipolar disorder (BD), dysregulation of mood may result from white matter abnormalities that disrupt fronto-subcortical circuits. In this study, we explore such abnormalities using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), an imaging technique capable of detecting subtle changes not visible with conventional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and voxel-based analysis.

METHODS

Thirty-six patients with BD, all but two receiving antidepressants or mood stabilizers, and 28 healthy controls matched for age and gender were studied. Diffusion-weighted echoplanar images (DW-EPI) were obtained using a 1.5T scanner. Voxel-based analysis was performed using SPM 2. Differences between the groups in mean diffusivity and fractional anisotropy (FA) were explored.

RESULTS

In the patient group, mean diffusivity was increased in the right posterior frontal and bilateral prefrontal white matter, while FA was decreased [corrected] in the inferior, middle temporal and middle occipital regions. The areas of increased mean diffusivity overlapped with those previously found to be abnormal using volumetric MRI and magnetization transfer imaging (MTI) in the same group of patients.

CONCLUSIONS

White matter abnormalities, predominantly in the fronto-temporal regions, can be detected in patients with BD using DTI. The neuropathology of these abnormalities is uncertain, but neuronal and axonal loss, myelin abnormalities and alterations in axonal packing density are likely to be relevant. The neuroprotective effects of some antidepressants and mood stabilizers make it unlikely that medication effects could explain the abnormalities described here, although minor effects cannot be excluded.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: bipolar disorder;diffusion tensor imaging;fractional anisotropy;mean diffusivity
Schools and Departments: Brighton and Sussex Medical School > Clinical and Laboratory Investigation
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General) > R895 Medical physics. Medical radiology. Nuclear medicine
Depositing User: Patricia Butler
Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2012 12:26
Last Modified: 29 Oct 2012 12:26
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/41615
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