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Neurophysiological effects of multiple mood episodes in bipolar disorder.

Bipolar Disord; 2019 Apr 26.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31025452


Bipolar disorder is marked by progressive symptomatic changes, which have been linked with episode-related structural findings-particularly in the prefrontal cortex. However, few studies have examined neurofunctional and neurochemical effects of disease burden. In this study, we compared first- and multi-episode bipolar individuals. We hypothesized that the latter would demonstrate evidence of neurophysiological differences consistent with a model of progressive functional degradation of these networks.


First- and multi-episode manic bipolar subjects participated in functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) including a continuous performance task with emotional distractors, and in single-voxel (1 H) magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS). A priori fMRI regions-of-interest (ROI) included structures comprising prefrontal-striatal-amygdala networks; (1 H)MRS voxels were placed within bilateral ventrolateral prefrontal (VLPFC) and anterior cingulate cortex (ACC). Both ROI and voxel-based brain activation in response to emotional stimuli, and neurochemical concentrations derived from (1 H)MRS were compared across bipolar groups.


Multi-episode bipolar subjects showed relatively lower regional activation across prefrontal-striatal-amygdala networks, including bilateral VLPFC, orbitofrontal cortex, ACC, putamen, caudate, and amygdala. Exploratory whole-brain, voxel-based analysis suggested additional areas of lower activation extending into Brodmann area 22, posterior parietal regions, and right thalamus. Glutamate and N-acetylaspartate (NAA) concentrations were also relatively lower in the ACC of multi-episode subjects.


Disease burden, exemplified by multiple affective episodes is associated with evidence of widespread decrements in affective network activity. Lower ACC NAA concentration is similarly consistent with a model of progressive functional deficits. These findings support the functional significance of previously observed progressive structural changes throughout these regions.