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Neuroimage. 2012 Jan 2;59(1):738-44. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2011.07.054. Epub 2011 Aug 10.

Normal amygdala activation but deficient ventrolateral prefrontal activation in adults with bipolar disorder during euthymia.

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  • 1Laboratory of NeuroImaging, Department of Neurology, UCLA School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA.

Abstract

Functional neuroimaging studies have implicated the involvement of the amygdala and ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (vlPFC) in the pathophysiology of bipolar disorder. Hyperactivity in the amygdala and hypoactivity in the vlPFC have been reported in manic bipolar patients scanned during the performance of an affective faces task. Whether this pattern of dysfunction persists during euthymia is unclear. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), 24 euthymic bipolar and 26 demographically matched healthy control subjects were scanned while performing an affective task paradigm involving the matching and labeling of emotional facial expressions. Neuroimaging results showed that, while amygdala activation did not differ significantly between groups, euthymic patients showed a significant decrease in activation of the right vlPFC (BA47) compared to healthy controls during emotion labeling. Additionally, significant decreases in activation of the right insula, putamen, thalamus and lingual gyrus were observed in euthymic bipolar relative to healthy control subjects during the emotion labeling condition. These data, taken in context with prior studies of bipolar mania using the same emotion recognition task, could suggest that amygdala dysfunction may be a state-related abnormality in bipolar disorder, whereas vlPFC dysfunction may represent a trait-related abnormality of the illness. Characterizing these patterns of activation is likely to help in understanding the neural changes related to the different mood states in bipolar disorder, as well as changes that represent more sustained abnormalities. Future studies that assess mood-state related changes in brain activation in longitudinal bipolar samples would be of interest.

Published by Elsevier Inc.

PMID:
21854858
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3216485
Free PMC Article

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