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Psychiatry Res. 2008 Nov 30;164(2):106-13. doi: 10.1016/j.pscychresns.2007.12.004. Epub 2008 Oct 19.

Fronto-limbic circuitry in euthymic bipolar disorder: evidence for prefrontal hyperactivation.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX, USA.

Abstract

Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies of bipolar disorder have revealed fronto-limbic abnormalities in patients during manic and depressive episodes. However, relatively few studies have examined neural activity during euthymia, leaving unanswered questions concerning the impact of mood state on activity in these brain regions. In the present study, we examined 15 remitted bipolar type I patients and 16 demographically matched healthy comparison subjects during performance on an affective face-matching task previously shown to elicit amygdala hyperactivation and prefrontal hypoactivation in manic relative to healthy subjects. In our euthymic sample, amygdala activation did not differ from controls. However, bipolar patients showed hyperactivation in inferior prefrontal cortical regions compared with controls, a finding that contrasts with the hypoactivation previously reported in this region in manic patients. Given the reciprocal relationship between the prefrontal cortex and limbic structures, we propose state-related amygdala activity, similar to that of healthy controls, may be associated with prefrontal hyperactivation when bipolar patients are asymptomatic.

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